Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan performance plummets in 2014
MANILA, Philippines – The latest data released by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan points to a slowdown in the fight against graft and corruption.
According to data on the number of criminal charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against high-ranking public officials, there appeared to be a significant drop in the number of cases filed in 2014 compared to 2013.
The yearend summary of cases pending and disposed at the Sandiganbayan showed only 452 new cases filed in 2014 by the Office of the Ombudsman. This is less than half the 2013 total of 969.
Part of the newly filed cases were the 3 plunder cases and 42 counts of graft charges against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Indictments in the PDAF cases included one plunder case each for Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, along with 16, 15, and 11 counts of graft for the three senators, respectively. (READ: 3 PH senators charged with plunder over PDAF scam)
The 2014 Sandiganbayan data showed that its new cases were comprised of:
- 150 graft charges
- 89 counts of malversation of public funds or properties
- 56 cases of infidelity in the custody of documents/prisoners
- 22 counts of falsification of public documents, and
- 135 various other cases
The Sandiganbayan also appeared to show plummeting performance, with its case disposal dropping from 480 in 2013 to only 277 in 2014.
Due to the slow case disposal – compounded by new cases filed by the Ombudsman – the special anti-graft court’s case load at the start of 2015 ballooned to 3,093 unresolved cases. That count is the highest in 13 years, with 3,196 pending cases posted at the year's end of 2001 being the last high point for unresolved cases.
Since the Sandiganbayan expanded to its present composition of 5 divisions, the lowest case disposal rate was posted in 2010 with 247 cases, followed by 275 cases resolved in 2005.
The disposal record for 2014 was the court’s fourth-worst mark in its 35-year existence. Comparatively, the lowest number of cases disposed was 217, recorded in 1979 when there was only one division composed of 3 justices. – Rappler.com