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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 146486 : March 4, 2005]

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Petitioners, v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND


FORMER DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE VISAYAS ARTURO C. MOJICA, Respondents.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

Topic: Power of Impeachment – Who are subject to Impeachment

Doctrine:

Section 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the
Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from
office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution,
treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All
other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but
not by impeachment.

Facts: The case had its inception on 29 December 1999, when twenty-two officials and employees
of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman (OMB) for the Visayas, led by its two directors, filed a
formal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman requesting an investigation on the basis of
allegations that then Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, private respondent Arturo Mojica,
committed the following:
1. Sexual harassment against Rayvi Padua-Varona;
2. Mulcting money from confidential employees James Alueta and Eden Kiamco; and
3. Oppression against all employees in not releasing the P7,200.00 benefits of OMB-Visayas
employees. The complaints in Criminal Case No. OMB-0-00-0615 and Administrative Case No.
OMB-ADM-0-00-0316, were dismissed.

Thereupon, on 15 January 2001, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before this Court “a petition
for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and alternatively, an
original special civil action for certiorari under Sec. 1, Rule 65 of the same rules,

ISSUE: Is the Deputy Ombudsman an impeachable officer under Section 2, Article XI of the 1987
Constitution?
RULING:
No. The Deputy Ombudsman is not an impeachable officer under sec. 2, Article XI of the 1987
Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution, the deliberations thereon, and the opinions of constitutional law experts
all indicate that the Deputy Ombudsman is not an impeachable officer. The court has likewise
taken into account the commentaries of the leading legal luminaries on the Constitution as to their
opinion on whether or not the Deputy Ombudsman is impeachable. All of them agree in unison
that the impeachable officers enumerated in Section 2, Article XI of the 1986 Constitution is
exclusive. In their belief, only the Ombudsman, not his deputies, is impeachable. The
impeachable officers are the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President, the members of the
Supreme Court, the members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman. (see Art.
XI, Sec. 2) The list is exclusive and may not be increased or reduced by legislative enactment.

The rule that an impeachable officer cannot be criminally prosecuted for the same offenses which
constitute grounds for impeachment presupposes his continuance in office. Hence, the moment
he is no longer in office because of his removal, resignation, or permanent disability, there can be
no bar to his criminal prosecution in the courts. Nor does retirement bar an administrative
investigation from proceeding against the private respondent, given that, as pointed out by the
petitioner, the former’s retirement benefits have been placed on hold in view of the provisions of
Sections 12 and 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

WHEREFORE, the Order of the Court of Appeals dated 18 December 2000 is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaints in Criminal Case No. OMB-0-00-0615 and
Administrative Case No. OMB-ADM-0-00-0316 are hereby REINSTATED and the Office
of the Ombudsman is ordered to proceed with the investigation relative to the above
cases.