The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) “to simplify procedures to be observed by the OMB and the DOJ for a more efficient and effective investigation and prosecution” of cases involving government officials and employees.
The MOA was signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and Justice Sec. Leila de Lima.
Under the MOA, the OMB will have “primary jurisdiction in the conduct of preliminary investigation and inquest proceedings over complaints for crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.”
Under Sec. 4 of RA 8249, among the cases over which the Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction are the following: “I) Violations of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act); II)RA 1379 (Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Wealth); III)Crimes by public officers or employees embraced in Ch. II, Sec. 2 Title VII, Bk. II of the Revised Penal code (Crimes committed by Public Officers) namely : Direct Bribery, Indirect Bribery, Qualified Bribery, Corruption of Public Officials; IV) Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed in relation to their office by the public officials and employees mentioned above” and cases involving government officials and employees with Salary Grade 27 or higher for a)Violation of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards) b)Violation of RA 7080 (The Plunder Law) c)Violation of RA 7659 (The Heinous Crime Law) d) RA 9160 (Violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law when committed by a public officer) e) PD 46 (Prohibition Against Gift-Giving) and f)PD 749(law granting immunity to bribe-givers who voluntarily gives information) .
It said that when complaints involving the above-mentioned cases were filed before the DOJ, the same shall immediately be endorsed to the OMB.
The two officials also agreed that the OMB and the DOJ shall have concurrent jurisdiction over cases involving public officials falling outside the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. However, “the office where such complaint is filed for preliminary investigation shall acquire jurisdiction over the complaint to the exclusion of the other”.
Once the DOJ acquires jurisdiction over said cases, the Prosecutor General or provincial/city prosecutors shall resolve them without need of approval from the OMB.
The OMB shall conduct reinvestigation, when ordered by the court, of cases which underwent preliminary investigation at the OMB but referred to the DOJ for prosecution.
The MOA also states that “the OMB shall ensure that a motion for reconsideration has been resolved or the period for filing thereof has lapsed before endorsing an Information to the DOJ for filing with the proper court”.