Friday, November 14, 2014

AFP, Ombudsman firm up agreement to hasten disposition of cases

From InterAksyon (Nov 14): AFP, Ombudsman firm up agreement to hasten disposition of cases

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Office of the Ombudsman have firmed up a memorandum of agreement (MOA) aimed at hastening the disposition of cases filed against servicemen and officers.

"To reinforce institutional synergy and fast-track case disposition, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) today at simple ceremonies at the Ombudsman Building," Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said.

Morales said the agreement stipulates that her office retains exclusive jurisdiction over criminal and administrative cases involving graft and corruption, plunder, violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 1379 (An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully Acquired), R.A. No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act), R.A. No. 9485 (Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007), and crimes punishable under Titles II, IV and VII of the Revised Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the AFP retains exclusive jurisdiction over crimes and administrative offenses identified under the Articles of War, complaints involving salaries, benefits, remuneration, promotion of military personnel, including violations of the economic provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Children).

The MOA also provides for the conduct of joint fact-finding investigation on a case-to-case basis as well as training and education programs.

Morales said she is confident "the implementation of this MOA would bring about better women and men in uniform" as she "looks forward to working with the AFP in deepening the sense of integrity, accountability and transparency in the military service."

For his part, AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr. stated that it is "imperative for us to join hands in order to move forward and prevent misdeeds that taint the honorable path of public service."

Cyril E. Ramos, Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO), and Lt. Gen John S. Bonafos, AFP Vice Chief of Staff and chief of the AFP Office of Ethical Standards and Public Accountability (OESPA), witnessed the MOA signing.

The MOA becomes effective on 01 December 2014.

The Office of the Ombudsman had also forged MOAs with national government agencies such as the Department of Justice in March 2012, the Commission on Audit in April 2012, the Philippine National Police/National Police Commission in September 2012, the Office of the President in June 2013, and the Governance Commission for GOCCs in June 2013.

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