Justices, lawmakers should be covered by ombudsman powers – Lagman
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Supreme Court (SC) justices, senators and members of the House of Representatives should not be immune from the investigative and prosecutorial powers of the Ombudsman, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has proposed.  

In a privilege speech delivered Monday night, the veteran opposition lawmaker said he regretted voting for Republic Act 6770 or “The Ombudsman Act of 1989,” two provisions of which are filled with constitutional infirmities. 

Section 21 “exempts members of congress and the judiciary from the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman” while Section 8 (2) provides the President the “power to remove” the Ombudsman’s deputies and the special prosecutor. 

“What extraordinary attributes do representatives and senators have to merit their immunity from the Ombudsman’s disciplinary jurisdiction?” he said, adding such constricts the jurisdiction of the ombudsman members of the Congress and the judiciary.

 He said the exclusion of SC justices and the members of Congress is constitutionally infirm and needs amendment.

“Members of Congress and the judiciary do not have any unique or peculiar attributes, which would make them a class distinct from other public functionaries and employees who are enjoined to uphold public office as a public trust,” Lagman said.  

“There is more reason for members of the Congress and the judiciary to be under the jurisdiction of the ombudsman because they wield powers and enjoy privileges which are prone to abuse, and members of the judiciary should be exemplars of the tenet that public office is a public trust,” he added. 

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