The dismissal stems from the young Binayâ€™s involvement in irregular bidding and overpricing ofÂ the Makati parking building.
This development just highlights the vast powers of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Can the Ombudsman remove from office a duly elected local government official, like a mayor who has behind him, millions of votes who gave him a mandate to hold the highest office of the city for three years?
Yes, the Ombudsman can. That is how powerful the office is.
The power to dismiss an elected local government official like a mayor is derived from the Ombudsman law, Republic Act No. 6770.
Under Section 21 of the Ombudsman law, â€œtheOffice of the Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective andappointive officials of the Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities andagencies, including Members of the Cabinet, local government, government-owned orcontrolled corporations and their subsidiaries, except over officials who may be removed only by impeachment or over Members of Congress, and the Judiciary.â€
In administrative proceedings, one penalty that the Ombudsman can impose is the penalty of dismissal.
SectionÂ 25 (2) of the Ombudsman law states the penalties that the Ombudsman may impose in administrative cases, involving officials including elected ones like a mayor:
â€œ(2) In other administrative proceedings, the penalty ranging from suspension
without pay for one (1) year to dismissal with forfeiture of benefits or a fine rangingfrom Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to twice the amount malversed, illegally taken orlost, or both at the discretion of the Ombudsmanâ€¦â€
So the penalties that the Ombudsman can impose are three.
The Ombudsman can suspend or dismiss an official
The Ombudsman can forfeit the benefits due a public official.
The Ombudsman can impose a fine which can be twice the amount malversed.
So, if the amount malversed is P500-million, the fine may reach P1-billion.
It draws to us thoughts that the office of the ombudsman can be an effective agent in stemming graft and corruptione, even without going through the judicial processes.
Of course the Ombudsmanâ€™s decision is subject to appeal to the Supreme Court .
But through the Ombudsman, the usually long process of retribution is drastically reduced because penalty (except of course imprisonment) is imposed even without going through the courts like the Sandiganbayan or the Regional Trial Court.
This can be seen as a concrete example of how the Ombudsman becomes an effectiveÂ tool in the drive to weed out rampant corruption in the government. (Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)