Ombudsman aspirant wants an end to ‘parking fee’ at anti-graft body

Moneyed respondents are resorting to a “parking fee” (keeping a case on hold) to delay the result of the investigation of cases before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Retired Sandiganbayan Associate Justice now the Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval said he found out that some cases filed against government officials and employees have been dismissed due to inordinate delay.

Inordinate delay happens when the Ombudsman takes too long in completing its investigation before filing a case. In some instances, he said the delay was due to the “parking fee” paid by moneyed litigants.

Sandoval, together with Atty. Edna Herrera-Batacan, mentioned of the “parking fee” before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Herrera-Batacan said the Office of the Ombudsman has been corrupted as well with the “parking fee” that needs to be immediately addressed.

Sandoval said “we will cause an investigation of that parking fee,” Sandoval said.

Currently, Atty. Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) representing the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said there are 402 cases filed before the Sandiganbayan and other lower courts but pending cases are already 5,377.

In order to reduce the backlog in the Office of the Ombudsman, Sandoval said there has to be a close coordination with the fact-finding investigators. He also said that the special prosecutors should undergo litigation training.

Like Sandoval, another aspirant, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said there has to be a strict timeline to be followed from the investigation of the complaint to issuing a resolution on whether to dismiss it or file it with the Sandiganbayan or other courts depending on the salary grade of the respondents.

On the other hand, another Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz believed that there has to be an inventory of pending complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman and the number of cases filed before the courts.

“I will have to conduct an inventory of cases to determine the choke points why there are such delays there and to propose or implement measures to avoid the choke points,” Dela Cruz added.

Other aspirants interviewed by the JBC include Attys. Rey Nathaniel C. Ifuring, Rainir L. Madrid, Felito S. Ramirez and Rex G. Rico.

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