Petitioner-judge Contends That The Office Of The Ombudsman Has No Jurisdiction To Initiate An Investigation Into The Alleged

JUDGE ANA MARIA I. DOLALAS, EVELYN K. OBIDO AND WILBERTO B. CARRIEDO, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO and BENJAMIN VILLARANTE, JR., respondents. Petitioners, Judge Ana Maria I. Dolalas, Evelyn K. Obido and Wilberto B. Carriedo – Presiding Judge, Clerk of Court and Clerk II, respectively of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Kabasalan, Zamboanga del Sur, were charged “administratively” by private respondent Benjamin Villarante, Jr. for “miscarriage of justice, dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, unnecessary delay in the administration of justice and for failure to prosecute Criminal Case No. 5881 for an unreasonable length of time” before public respondent Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao. Petitioner was basically being charged with “undue delay in the disposition of the said criminal case” filed before petitioner’s court. The issue posed, therefore, in this petition is whether or not the Office of the Ombudsman may take cognizance of the complaint against petitioner for purposes of investigation and possible prosecution in accordance with its mandate under Section 13 (1) and (2) of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution[1] for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.[2] Petitioner-judge contends that the Office of the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to initiate an investigation into the alleged “undue delay in the disposition of the case” as said charge relates to a judge’s performance of her official duties over which the Supreme Court has administrative control and supervision, as mandated under Section 6, Rule VIII of the 1987 Constitution.[3] Public respondent Ombudsman-Mindanao, however, contends that referral to the Supreme Court is not essential in this case as what will be investigated is not whether there was undue delay in the disposition of a simple criminal case for five years, which it admits is administrative in nature. It added that what is sought to be determined…

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