Ombudsman’s rulings stand — DILG

December 07, 2019

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will no longer honor any temporary restraining orders (TROs) or injunction from regional trial courts (RTCs) against decisions handed down by the Ombudsman.

The Supreme Court has issued a circular reminding and advising all RTCs that they have no jurisdiction or authority to interfere with or restrict the rulings of the Ombudsman in disciplinary cases.

In welcoming SC Circular 221-2019, Secretary Eduardo Ano said that in numerous instances, the statutory duty of DILG to implement decisions of the Ombudsman have been stymied by the issuance of TROs or preliminary injunction from RTCs.

“It has become alarming because this is contrary to the doctrine of judicial stability and hierarchy of courts. Thus we constrained to seek the advice of the Supreme Court,” the DILG chief said.

The SC circular, according to Ano, is clear that RTCs cannot interfere with Ombudsman decisions on disciplinary cases.

“Given that the highest court of the land has spoken, this Department will not honor any TRO or injunction to be issued by any RTC against the decisions of the Ombudsman since the Supreme Court has ruled that it has no legal authority to do so,” he added

He advised those aggrieved by any decision of the Ombudsman to follow the proper and correct procedure. “As clearly laid down in OCA Circular No. 221-2019, the Court of Appeals via a Petition for Review is the proper recourse for those aggrieved by any decision by the Ombudsman. While this Department respects the right of all to due process, this must be exercised in the proper and legal manner,” he said.

OCA Circular No. 221-2019 issued by Court Administrator Midas P. Marquez states that “As a co-equal body, the RTC has no jurisdiction to interfere with or restrain the execution of the Ombudsman’s decision in disciplinary cases,” citing the decisions of the Supreme Court in DILG vs. Gatuz, GR No. 191176 (2015) and Erice v. Judge Sison, AM No. RTJ-15-2407 (2017).

“This is a big step towards holding our public officials, especially local government officials, accountable to the people. We thank the Supreme Court for acting swiftly on our letter dated 21 November 2019 and we advise the public to be guided accordingly,” he said.