Walang jurisdiction ang Presidente ng Pilipinas sa Office of the Ombudsman ayon sa isang ruling ng Supreme Court.
Ito ay kasunod ng pagsasampa ng kaso laban kina Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang at Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman dahil sa imbestigasyon hinggil sa tagong yaman ng pamilya ni President Rodrigo Duterte.
Ang mga nagsampa ng kaso laban kina Carandang at Elman ay sila ring mga nag-akusa laban kay Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Ang kaso laban sa mga Ombudsman officials ay inihain nina Manuelito Luna at Eligio Mallari sa Office of the President.
G.R. No. 196231
Ayon sa ruling ng Supreme Court En Banc para sa G.R. No. 196231, o ang Gonzales III, Barreras-Sulit v. Ochoa, independent body ang Office of the Ombudsman.
Dagdag pa nito, idineklarang void ng SC ang Section 8 (2) ng R.A. 6770 kung saan nasusulat na maaaring tanggalin ng Pangulo ang isang Deputy Ombudsman o Special Prosecutor.
Narito ang excerpt mula sa SC ruling:
In more concrete terms, we rule that subjecting the Deputy Ombudsman to discipline and removal by the President, whose own alter egos and officials in the Executive Department are subject to the Ombudsman’s disciplinary authority, cannot but seriously place at risk the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman itself. The Office of the Ombudsman, by express constitutional mandate, includes its key officials, all of them tasked to support the Ombudsman in carrying out her mandate. Unfortunately, intrusion upon the constitutionally-granted independence is what Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770 exactly did. By so doing, the law directly collided not only with the independence that the Constitution guarantees to the Office of the Ombudsman, but inevitably with the principle of checks and balances that the creation of an Ombudsman office seeks to revitalize.
What is true for the Ombudsman must be equally and necessarily true for her Deputies who act as agents of the Ombudsman in the performance of their duties. The Ombudsman can hardly be expected to place her complete trust in her subordinate officials who are not as independent as she is, if only because they are subject to pressures and controls external to her Office. This need for complete trust is true in an ideal setting and truer still in a young democracy like the Philippines where graft and corruption is still a major problem for the government. For these reasons, Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770 (providing that the President may remove a Deputy Ombudsman) should be declared void.