Press Release
October 2, 2013


Amid the pending high-profile plunder case in the Office of the Ombudsman, Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara has filed a bill that intends to aid the Ombudsman in the fulfillment of its mandate by augmenting its financial resources by giving it a share in any forfeited properties in corruption cases.

Senate Bill No. 1725 seeks to amend Section 6 of Republic Act No. 1379, otherwise known as the Forfeiture Law, to provide a mechanism wherein 30 percent of the value of forfeited assets shall be earmarked as additional funding for the Office of the Ombudsman.

"The delivery of justice to our people, especially when the hard-earned money they pay for taxes is being misused by unscrupulous officials, can only be achieved when we arm the appropriate government agencies, such as the Ombudsman, with adequate resources," Angara pointed out.

The neophyte senator cited the case of Hong Kong wherein it was considered as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia thirty years ago, but is now perceived as among the least corrupt countries in the region.

A World Bank study showed that the most important factor in the decline of corruption in Hong Kong was the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Internationally, the ICAC of Hong Kong is widely regarded as an icon of anti-corruption.

According to Hong Kong's official budget website, the budget of ICAC for 2013-2014 is HK$927.3 million or P5.2 billion as compared to the proposed budget of the Office of the Ombudsman for 2014 amounting to P1.8 billion.

"In comparison to the budget allocated to ICAC, the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman and other support anti-graft agencies pales. The Ombudsman is hindered to fulfill its mandate of combating corruption due to funding and resource limitations," Angara stressed.

Recently, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said it would take her office a year or less to decide the plunder case filed by the Department of Justice against Janet Lim Napoles and some lawmakers implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, given the voluminous pieces of evidence submitted.

"With the disposition of cases going at a snail's pace, corruption continues to go unhampered leading to massive losses in government revenue which remain unaccounted for," the senator said.

"We hope that with these extra funds, the Ombudsman will be able to effectively perform its duties, and the Filipino people can finally enjoy speedy justice to prevent the proliferation of graft and corruption in our country," Angara added.

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