MANILA – State auditors and prosecutors will be fielded as resident ombudsmen in government agencies starting this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.
“The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), the Commission on Audit (COA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) under which prosecutors and state auditors will be deputized as resident ombudsmen in graft prone agencies of the government. The OMB, COA, and DOJ shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies for the deployment of the resident ombudsmen which is expected to start rolling this month,” Justice Undersecretary Neil Bainto said in a statement.
As resident ombudsmen, these prosecutors and auditors shall “among other things, bring to the government agencies, the Ombudsman’s front line services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies”.
They will also serve as watchdogs and implementors of corruption prevention programs and monitor compliance with existing laws and regulations.
Last June, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who was directed by the president to form a special task force against corruption (TFAC) said local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were the subjects of complaints the TFAC has received.
The task force handled 220 complaints during the first half of the year mainly involving “anomalous transactions perpetrated jointly by these LGUs (local government units) and (DPWH) district engineering offices.”
Other complaints involve the Land Registration Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Customs, and other government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) with most of the complaints acted upon “quietly” by the task force, Guevarra said.
Some cases have also been endorsed to the Ombudsman for further investigation and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for criminal investigation. (PNA)