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Powers, Functions and Duties

The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties

  1. Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.  It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of his primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases (Sec. 15(1) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(1), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  2. Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or employee of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties (Sec. 15(2) R.A. No. 6770; Sec 13(2) Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  3. Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21 or this Act: Provided, That the refusal by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be ground for disciplinary action against said officer (Sec. 15(3) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(3), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  4. Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as it may provide in its rules of procedure, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action (Sec. 15(4) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec. 13(4), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  5. Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents (Sec. 15(5), R.A. No.6770; see also Sec. 13(5), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  6. Publicize matters covered by its investigation of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, when circumstances so warrant and with due determine what cases may not be made public:  Provided further, That any publicity issued by the Ombudsman shall be balanced, fair, and true (Sec 15(6) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(6), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  7. Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency  (Sec 15(7) R.A. No. 6770; see also Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution);
  8. Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and take testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the power to examine and have access to bank accounts and records  (Sec 15(8), R.A. No. 6770);
  9. Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therein  (Sec 15(9), R.A. No. 6770);
  10. Delegate to the Deputies, or its investigators or representatives such authority or duty as shall ensure the effective exercise of performance of the powers, functions, and duties herein or hereinafter provided (Sec 15(10), R.A. No. 6770);
  11. Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of the parties involved therein (Sec 15(11), R.A. No. 6770);
  12. Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law (Sec 13(7), Article XI, 1987 Constitution; see also Sec. 18, R.A. No. 6770);


Constitutional Guarantees Insulating the Office from Political Influence and Interference

The organic provisions finally approved insulated the Office from political influence or interference by:

  • giving the Ombudsman and his Deputies, whose appointments need no Congressional confirmation, the rank of chairman and members, respectively, of a Constitutional Commission;
  • prescribing for them fixed term of Office during which their salaries cannot be diminished;
  • removable from Office only by impeachment; and,
  • making it an independent office enjoying fiscal autonomy.