Accountability of Public Officers

Wikis > Proposed Philippine Constitution > Accountability of Public Officers


Section 1. (1) Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost efficiency, integrity, and loyalty, act with patriotism, and lead modest lives.


(2) Directors and trustees who represent the interests of the State in government-owned or -controlled corporations as well as persons appointed to official positions in said entities, are public officers.


Section 2. The President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law but not impeachment.


Section 3. (1) Parliament shall have the power to initiate, try and decide all cases of impeachment.


1. A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of Parliament or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any of its Members, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to Parliament within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by Parliament within ten session days from its receipt.


2. A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of Parliament shall be necessary to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be entered in the journal.


3. In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of Parliament, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial shall proceed.


4. No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.


5. When sitting for that purpose, the Members of Parliament shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of three-fourths of all the Members of Parliament.


6. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall also be liable and subject to prosecution, trial and punishment according to law.


7. Parliament shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this Section.


Section 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as provided by law.


Section 5. The Office of the Ombudsman shall be composed of the Ombudsman, one overall deputy, and at least one deputy each for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. A separate deputy for the military establishment may likewise be appointed.


Section 6. The officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman, other than the deputies, shall be appointed by the Ombudsman according to civil service law.


Section 7. The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall continue to function and exercise its powers as provided by law, except those conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman.


Section 8. The Ombudsman and his deputies shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, and at the time of their appointment, at least forty years old, of recognized probity and independence, members of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidates for any elective office in the immediately preceding election. The Ombudsman must have at least been a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. During their tenure, they shall be subject to disqualifications and prohibitions as provided for in this constitution.


Section 9. The Ombudsman and his deputies shall be appointed by Parliament.


Section 10. The Ombudsman and his deputies shall have the rank of chairman and members, respectively, of the Constitutional Commissions, and they shall receive the same salary as the members, which shall not be decreased during their term of office.


Section 11. The Ombudsman and his deputies shall serve for a term of seven years without reappointment. They shall not be qualified to run for any office in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office.


Section 12. The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on verified complaints filed against public officials or employees of the Government, or any of its subdivision, agency or instrumentality, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and its result.


Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:


1. Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.


2. Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of the Government, or any of its subdivision, agency or instrumentality, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.


3. Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance with such action.


4. Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law, to furnish it with copies of documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the commission on audit for appropriate action.


5. Request any Government agency for assistance and information necessary in the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and documents.


6. Publish matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and with due prudence.


7. Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the government and make recommendations for their elimination, and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.


8. Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law.


Section 14. The Office of the Ombudsman shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Its annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.


Section 15. A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, net worth and annual income including the sources and application of funds. In the case of the Prime Minister, President, Members of the Cabinet, Parliament, Supreme Court, constitutional commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the Armed

Forces general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public through publication in newspapers of general circulation.


Section 16. The right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from them or from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches, or estoppel.


Section 17. No loan guarantee, or other form of financial accommodation may be granted, directly or indirectly, by any government-owned or -controlled bank or financial institution to any public officials.


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