Lawmaker to re-file bill giving Ombudsman wider powers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 June) – The Ombudsman should be given wider powers in running against corrupt government officials, reelected Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said.

Zarate told reporters during Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Monday he will re-file the bill giving more powers to the Ombudsman which was submitted to the House committee on justice but failed to reach the plenary in the 16th Congress.

He said the government watchdog must widen its “mechanisms to effectively combat graft and corruption.”

“Para maging effective ang role ng Ombudsman in our society, not only on stomping graft and corruption but at overall scheme, there is good governance para ang atong mga tao mobalik ang ilang respect sa gobyerno,” he said.

He said the Ombudsman should be allowed to investigate financial transactions of government employees and officials without necessarily going through provisions of Anti-Money Laundering Act and implement its decisions at once.

He said the Ombudsman’s decisions can become executory at once if these will not be subject to plenary injunction or temporary restraining order by the Court of Appeals.

“Basin pwede na Supreme Court na lang,” (Maybe it should only be the Supreme Court) he said, referring to the issuance of TROs..

Zarate said the proposed measure is part of the package of reforms they hope to achieve under the incoming Duterte administration which promises a clean government.

He added he will re-file other bills that were not passed under the Aquino administration such as the Whistleblowers Act, Strengthening of the Witness Protection Program, and Freedom of Information Bill.

“We will push for these bills not only to combat graft and corruption but also for good governance that our people deserve,” he said.

The lawmaker said the government must also effect reforms that will address the root causes of graft and corruption.

He cited the disparity between the salaries of ordinary government workers and high ranking officials. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)