Ombudsman can't touch me - Midas

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 31 2012 07:52 AM | Updated as of Jan 31 2012 09:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over administrative cases involving Supreme Court (SC) officials, the SC said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, SC spokesman and Court Administrator Midas Marquez raised the issue of jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman over the charges which Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello filed against him last week.

“In terms of administrative matters, there’s none (jurisdiction of Ombudsman over SC officials),” he said.

“It’s only the SC that has jurisdiction over the court administrator in administrative matters.”

Marquez said it is a “legal issue” whether the anti-graft agency may assume jurisdiction over him even prior to an administrative proceeding.

“Whether or not a criminal case can prosper ahead of admin case, I guess that will have to be determined also,” he said.

Marquez said Bello’s request for an investigation of him for alleged irregularity in the management of the World Bank-funded Judicial Reform Support Project was premature since the aide memoire on which it was based was preliminary.

“That aide memoire is preliminary, our PMO (project management office) is addressing the report and we are given until the end of February to make necessary corrections,” he said.

“After which, the World Bank agency in charge of the project would still visit the country and come up with a final report.”

Meanwhile, Marquez said it is his duty as SC spokesman to defend Chief Justice Renato Corona or any other SC justice.

He was merely responding to queries from reporters involving SC rulings in the impeachment trial of Corona, he added.

Marquez has been accused of marshaling the scarce resources of the SC and the rest of the judiciary for the personal defense of Corona.