559 Phil. 717
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, respondent CELSO R. SANTIAGO, Barangay Chairman of Barangay 183, Zone 16 of the Second District of Manila is hereby found GUILTY of the administrative offenses of DISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SERVICE with the penalty of DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE pursuant to the pertinent provision of Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989.Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration and an urgent motion to hold in abeyance the implementation of the Decision, but both motions were denied by the Office of the Ombudsman in an Order dated July 24, 2001.
The City Mayor of Manila is hereby directed to immediately implement this DECISION in accordance with law and to inform this office of its initial action within fifteen (15) days upon receipt hereof.
However, assuming arguendo, that petitioner is administratively liable, public respondent has no authority to directly dismiss the petitioner from the government service, more particularly from his elective position of Barangay Captain. (Renato A. Tapiador vs. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 129124, March 15, 2002)The Office of the Ombudsman filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution of December 8, 2003.
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Clearly, public respondent has the duty to investigate and prosecute only for and in its behalf, civil, criminal, and administrative offenses committed by government officers and employees embodied in Sections 15 and 11 of R.A. 6770 (George Uy vs. the Hon. Sandiganbayan, et al., 354 SCRA 651). It cannot directly impose any disciplinary measure upon any erring public officer.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. The portions of the Decision dated May 22, 2001 rendered by the Office of the Ombudsman in Administrative Case No. OMB-0-00-0828 for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, ordering the dismissal of petitioner and directing the City Mayor of Manila to implement said Decision are hereby DELETED.
Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:Invoking Tapiador, respondent contends that the word "recommend" be given its literal meaning, that is, that the Ombudsman's action, pursuant to the above provision, is only recommendatory.
(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.
Several reasons militate against a literal interpretation of the subject constitutional provision. Firstly, a cursory reading of Tapiador reveals that the main point of the case was the failure of the complainant therein to present substantial evidence to prove the charges of the administrative case. The statement that made reference to the power of the Ombudsman is, at best, merely an obiter dictum and, as it is unsupported by sufficient explanation, is susceptible to varying interpretations, as what precisely is before us in this case. Hence, it cannot be cited as a doctrinal declaration of this Court nor is it safe from judicial examination.In interpreting a statute, care should be given that every part thereof be given effect. Hence, the use of the word "recommend" must be read in conjunction with the words "ensure compliance therewith" in order not to run counter to the intention of the framers of the Constitution to give the Ombudsman full and complete disciplinary authority, with powers that are not merely persuasive in character. In fact, Section 13(3), Article XI is complemented by Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6770 which reads:
SEC. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. — The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties:Considering that the refusal, without just cause, of any officer to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to penalize an erring officer or employee is a ground for disciplinary action, it follows that the Ombudsman's "recommendation" is not merely advisory but is actually mandatory within the bounds of law....
(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer or employee at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority as provided in Section 21 of this Act: Provided, That the refusal by any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be a ground for disciplinary action against said officer; x x x
The powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory. His office was given teeth to render this constitutional body not merely functional but also effective. Thus, we hold that under Republic Act No. 6770 and the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman has the constitutional power to directly remove from government service an erring public official other than a member of Congress and the Judiciary. (Emphasis supplied).WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66744 are REVERSED. The Decision dated May 22, 2001 of the Office of the Ombudsman is AFFIRMED.