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OMBUDSMAN V.

VALERA
TOPIC: Ombudsman
DOCTRINE: Ombudsman may delegate his investigatory
function including the power to conduct administrative
investigation to the Special Prosecutor. However, Sec. 24
of RA 6770 grants the power to preventively suspend
ONLY to the OMBUDSMAN and DEPUTY OMBUDSMEN.
FACTS:
1. Repondent Valera was appointed as Deputy
Commissioner of the Bureasu of Customs by PGMA.
He took his oath of office and assumed his post.
2. Office of the Ombudsman received the sworn
complaint filed by then Director Matillano of PNP
CIDG. In the complaint he was charged with
criminal offenses as well as administrative offenses
of grave misconduct and Serious irregularity in the
performance of duty.
3. Prior to Director Mattilanos sworn complaint,
criminal and administrative charges were also filed
with the Office of the Ombudsman by Atty. Adolfo
Casareo against respondent Valera. Such complaint
contained
similar
allegations
with
Director
Matillanos complaint.
a. Without authority by commissioner of
customs,
respondent
entered
into
compromise agreement with Steel Asia
Manufacturing Corp. to the prejudice of the
govt.
4. Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo issued a memo
inhibiting himself from the criminal and admin
cases and directed petitioner special prosecutoe
Villa-Ignacio to act in his stead and place.

5. Pursuant to the memo, Special Prosecutor issued an


order placing respondent Valera under preventive
suspension for 6 months without pay.
6. Respondent Valera sought for reconsideration on
the ground of denial of due process but it was
denied. However, EVEN BEFORE his motion for
reconsideration was acted upon, Respondent
already filed with the CA a special civil action for
certiorari and prohibition seeking to nullify the
order of preventive suspension.
a. In its order, CA set aside the order of
preventive suspension and directed special
prosecutor to desist from taking any further
action.
b. CA held that petitioner Special Prosecutor is
not authorized by law to sign and issue
preventive suspension orders.
i. Sec. 24 RA 6770 Vests on the
ombudsman and his deputy the power
to preventively suspend any govt
officer
or
employee
under
Ombudsmans
authority
pending
investigation
subject
to
certain
conditions.
ii. Sec. 5 Art. XI Constitution states that
Office of the Ombudsman is composed
of the Ombudsman to be known as the
Tanodbayan is composed of , one
overall Deputy, and at least one
Deputy each for Luzon, Visayas and
Mindanao. A separate deputy for
military establishment may likewise be
appointed.
c. CA not persuaded by special prosecutors
contention statinf Art. 11[4][c] of RA 6770
that Office of special prosecutor shall, in

addition
to
those
powers
expressly
enumerated, may perform such other duties
assigned to it by the Ombudsman. CA
declared Ombudsman Marcelos memo null
and void.
ISSUE/S: WON Special Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio has
authority to place respondent under preventice
suspension. NO.
HELD:
Petitioners defend the validity of Ombudsmans
delegation of authority to special prosecutor. They
contend that the authority to preventively suspend
is not insusceptible to delegation to an alter ego of
the ombudsman; petitioner Special Prosecutor
possessed the necessary qualifications and
competence to exercise delegated functions; and
no law or rule was violated with the said
delegation.
Respondent
Valera
argues
that
special
prosecutor has no authority to issue the order
placing him under preventive suspension. While
section 11 [4][c] of RA 6670 grants the special
prosecutor the power to perform such other duties
assigned to it by the Ombudsman, the performance
of such other duties should still be under the
supervision and control and upon the authority of
the Ombudsman. Respondent also submits that the
memo destroyed the hierarchy of command within
the office f the Ombudsman.
- SPECIAL PROSECUTOR HAS NO SUCH AUTHORITY
TO ORDER THE PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION OF THE
RESPONDENT.
- Ombudsman Marcelo did not state in the said
memo the reason for his inhibition.
- Rule on voluntary inhibition of judges must be
applied to the Ombudsman in the performance of

his
functions
particularly
in
administrative
proceedings like in this case.
o Like judges, the decision on WON to inhibit is
left to the Ombudmans discretion and sound
conscience. However, Ombudsman Marcelo
has no unfettered discretion to inhibit
himself. The inhibition must be for valid and
just causes.
The Ombudsman, pursuant to his power of
supervision
and
control
over
the
Special
Prosecutor, may authorize the latter to conduct
administrative investigation
- Based on the pertinent provisions of the
Constitution and R.A. No. 6770, the powers of the
Ombudsman have generally been categorized into
the following:
o Investigatory power;
o Prosecutory power;
o Public assistance functions;
o Authority to inquire and obtain information;
and
o Function to adopt, institute and implement
preventive measures.
- The Ombudsmans investigatory and prosecutory
power has been characterized as plenary and
unqualified.
- ON THE OTHER HAND, Authority of Special
Prosecutor has been characterized as limited.
o Merely a component of the office of the
Ombudsman and may act only under the
supervision and control1 and upon authority
of the Ombudsman.

1 Supervision and control shall include authority to act directly whenever a


specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; direct the
performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, reverse
or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; determine

Ombudsman may delegate his investigatory


function
including
the
power
to
conduct
administrative
investigation
to
the
Special
Prosecutor. However, Sec. 24 of RA 6770 grants the
power to preventively suspend ONLY to the
OMBUDSMAN and DEPUTY OMBUDSMEN.
With respect to the grant of the power to
preventively suspend, Section 24 of R.A. No 6770
makes no mention of the Special Prosecutor. The
obvious import of this exclusion is to withhold from
the Special Prosecutor the power to preventively
suspend
While R.A. No. 6770 accords the Special Prosecutor
the same rank as that of the Deputy Ombudsmen,
Section 24 thereof expressly grants only to the
Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsmen the
power to place under preventive suspension
government officials and employees under their
authority pending an administrative investigation.

DISPOSITIVE: Petition Denied. CA decision affirmed.

priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and prescribe standards,


guidelines, plans and programs.