New Ombudsman to control information on cases vs gov't officials, employees

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2018 05:18 PM

Samuel Martires is sworn into office as Ombudsman vice Conchita Carpio Morales at the Supreme Court in Manila on Monday. George Calvelo, ABS CBN News

MANILA - Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Monday said there will be changes in the flow of information on pending as well as new cases at the Office of the Ombudsman to protect government officials and employees from "prosecution by publicity."

On his first day in office, Martires said anonymous complaints filed will not be docketed so that the person’s rights will not be prejudiced and will not hinder his or her promotion or retirement.

“The complainant will be prohibited from issuing any statements that there is a complaint,” Martires said during the hearing at the House of Representatives for the P2.885 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman. 

Complainants filing cases at the Office of the Ombudsman are usually interviewed by the media after getting their receiving copies. 

In an interview with the media after the hearing, Martires clarified that there will be no sanctions against a complainant who makes public statements nor any negative effect on the resolution of the case. 

“Depende sa complainant kung gusto niya magsalita, but we can always deny. This is to protect the employee. I don’t want to resort to prosecution by publicity,” Martires said.

But Martires added complainants who will talk publicly will not be given “receiving copies”.

Martires also gave a piece of advice to the media who are doing stories on corruption cases against public officials.

“Hindi porke nasa media tayo lahat dapat binubusisi natin. Kung minsan huwag natin pagka-perahan ang karapatan ng tao,” Martires said.

Martires also said the practice under former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of issuing press releases on the finding of probable cause to charge individuals will no longer be done and the public will only know of the case if it is filed at the Sandiganbayan.

“Tatahimik kami muna,” he said.