Constitutional Law, Remedial Law

CORTES vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN G.R. Nos. 187896-97 June 10, 2013 Remedies- Office of the Omudsman

FACTS:

 

Petitioner charged respondents with violation of Section 3(c) of Republic Act No. 3019. or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. and Misconduct. Petitioner alleged that during the period of 29 March 2006 to 1 April 2006, respondents utilized a heavy equipment grader owned by the Province of Aklan in levelling a portion of his land and several fruit trees were destroyed.

 

The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) recommended the dismissal of the cases due to the fact that two (2) other cases involving the same parties and issues had already been filed by petitioner.

 

Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied, hence, petitioner takes the appeal directly to the Supreme Court, via a petition for review on certiorari, pursuant to Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act, assailing the denial of his motion for reconsideration by the OMB.

 

Petitioner stresses that respondents’ actions violated his constitutional right to due process and that his property was taken without just compensation.

 

In their Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General seeks the dismissal of the petition because petitioner availed of the wrong remedy. Moreover, the OSG supports the dismissal of petitioner’s complaint due to identity of issues and respondents in the previous and the present complaint.

 

ISSUE:

 

What is the proper remedy from the Ombudsman’s orders or resolutions in criminal cases?

 

RULING:

 

Petitioner, in filing this petition for review, committed a procedural misstep which warrants an outright dismissal.

 

Petitioner misconstrued Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989 and disregarded prevailing jurisprudence. Section 27 provides, in part, that:

 

In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives, or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

 

This provision, insofar as it provided for appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from the decisions or orders of the Ombudsman in administrative cases, had been declared unconstitutional by this Court as early as in the case of Fabian v. Desierto.

 

We ruled in Fabian that appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43, in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasi-judicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.

 

Jurisprudence accords a different treatment with respect to an appeal in a criminal case filed with the Office of the Ombudsman. We made the pronouncement in Acuña v. Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon6 that the remedy of an aggrieved party in criminal complaints before the Ombudsman is to file with this Court a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

 

Considering that the case at bar was a consolidation of an administrative and a criminal complaint, petitioner had the option to either file a petition for review under Rule 43 with the Court of Appeals or directly file a certiorari petition under Rule 65 before this Court. Neither of these two remedies was resorted to by petitioner.

 

By availing of a wrong remedy, this petition merits an outright dismissal.

 

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