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Ombudsman bares hacking of case records

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Ombudsman bares hacking of case records
“Our firewall was hacked. We discovered it just this year. That is why officials who have pending cases with us know which office to go. Three people have infiltrated our firewall and have been spying on our system,” he told members of the House committee on appropriations.
Office of the Ombudsman Philippines / Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The internal computer system of the Office of the Ombudsman has been hacked and at least three persons managed to gain access to administrative and graft cases against government officials, Ombudsman Samuel Martires disclosed to lawmakers yesterday.

“Our firewall was hacked. We discovered it just this year. That is why officials who have pending cases with us know which office to go. Three people have infiltrated our firewall and have been spying on our system,” he told members of the House committee on appropriations.

In layman’s terms, a firewall is the network security device meant to control access to a network, including keeping unauthorized users out of the system.

“We have so many problems,” the 74-year-old retired Supreme Court justice told the panel headed by Rep. Zaldy Co.

But Martires didn’t use this as a reason to seek augmentation for their P5-billion proposed budget for 2024, which is P1.7 billion lower than their original request.

“I don’t want to ask for more, although what the Department of Budget and Management gave us is way below what we were asking for, we are content with the budget given by the DBM. We will just tighten our belts,” Martires told Bulacan Rep. Salvador Pleyto Sr. who asked if it would suffice.

Martires said the DBM should just use the P1.7-billion difference, or the amount slashed from the agency, to “fund projects that the people need.”

“At the outset I would like to laud the ombudsman. It is because it’s only him who said he can live with his budget. I haven’t heard a head of agency or department say that – that he will live with the budget given him by the government,” Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop Jr. said.

Co, who represents the party-list Ako Bicol, underscored the need for the existence of such an independent, constitutional body that “acts as a watchdog to ensure that government officials conduct themselves with honesty and moral uprightness.” ?“The ombudsman is the guardian of good governance. Accountability is the linchpin that holds public servants responsible for their actions. He serves as a bridge between the government and the governed, ensuring that public services are delivered efficiently, fairly and without prejudice.”

“Let us remember that a strong and independent ombudsman is not merely a luxury but a necessity, ensuring that the values of integrity, transparency and accountability continue to thrive in our public service, ultimately serving the greater good of our nation,” the House official stressed.

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