“U can’t touch this.”
That was MC Hammer rapping his way to the top of the R&B music charts in 1990.
And his message still rings true today.
This is especially in the case of constitutionally independent bodies.
It’s called the principle of separation of powers.
This basically means one constitutional body or its official cannot interfere in the affairs of another constitutional body.
And in this sense, the Senate President is right.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel would have to remove Sen. Joel Villanueva from office unless a court orders a halt on the implementation of the Office of the Ombudsman’s order to dismiss him.
Based on provisions of Republic Act 6770 and the rules of the Ombudsman, only a temporary restraining order can stop its directives or decisions.
But Pimentel has a different reading of the law as he warned the ombudsman against pressuring the chamber into enforcing its order to dismiss Villanueva.
Pimentel said the law that created the Ombudsman did not give the office the authority to sack Villanueva.
Based on the law, the Ombudsman does not have the power to discipline impeachable officials as well as members of the judiciary and Congress, Pimentel argued.
In the case of Villanueva, the anti-graft agency has ordered Pimentel to unseat him as penalty for grave administrative offenses committed when he was a party-list congressman of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption in 2008.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has also found probable cause to criminally indict him for graft and malversation of public funds for alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel totaling P10 million.
Under the rules, Villanueva may file an appeal but such motion for reconsideration cannot stop the implementation of the dismissal order, the Ombudsman said.
Based on the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, its decisions in administrative cases “may be appealed to the Court of Appeals on a verified petition for review under the requirements and conditions set forth in Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, within (15) days from receipt of the written Notice of the Decision or Order denying the Motion for Reconsideration.”
“An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory. In case the penalty is suspension or removal and the respondent wins such appeal, he shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension and shall be paid the salary and such other emoluments that he did not receive by reason of the suspension or removal,” the rules state.
“A decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases shall be executed as a matter of course,” the rules stress, noting that Pimentel, being the one directed to implement the dismissal order, could face administrative charges if he refused to carry out the directive.
Apart from dismissal from the service, the rules of the Ombudsman said such penalty also carried with it cancellation of eligibility to serve in government, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from government service (through an election or appointment), unless otherwise provided in the decision.