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G.R. No. 116801. April 6, 1995.* GLORIA G.

LASTIMOSA, First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Cebu,


petitioner, vs. HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN CONRADO VASQUEZ, HONORABLE ARTURO C. MOJICA,
DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR THE VISAYAS, and HONORABLE FRANKLIN DRILON, SECRETARY OF JUSTICE,
and UNDERSECRETARY OF JUSTICE RAMON J. LIWAG, respondents.

The Office of the Ombudsman has the power to “investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint
by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or
omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.” This power has been held to include the
investigation and prosecution of any crime committed by a public official regardless of whether the acts
or omissions complained of are related to, or connected with, or arise from, the performance of his
official duty. It is enough that the act or omission was committed by a public official. Hence, the crime of
rape, when committed by a public official like a municipal mayor, is within the power of the
Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute.

Ombudsman Act of 1989 (R.A. No. 6770) provides: Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors.—The
Ombudsman may utilize the personnel of his office and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state
prosecutor or lawyer in the government service to act as special investigator or prosecutor to assist in
the investigation and prosecution of certain cases. Those designated or deputized to assist him as herein
provided shall be under his supervision and control. (Emphasis added)

When a prosecutor is deputized, he comes under the “supervision and control” of the Ombudsman
which means he is subject to the power of the Ombudsman to direct, review, approve, reverse or his
(prosecutor’s) decision.—It does not matter that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor had already
conducted the preliminary investigation and all that remained to be done was for the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor to file the corresponding case in court. Even if the preliminary investigation had
been given over to the Provincial Prosecutor to conduct, his determination of the nature of the offense
to be charged would still be subject to the approval of the Office of the Ombudsman. This is because
under §31 of the Ombudsman’s Act, when a prosecutor is deputized, he comes under the “supervision
and control” of the Ombudsman which means that he is subject to the power of the Ombudsman to
direct, review, approve, reverse or modify his (prosecutor’s) decision. Petitioner cannot legally act on
her own and refuse to prepare and file the information as directed by the Ombudsman.

It does not matter that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor had already conducted the preliminary
investigation and all that remained to be done was for the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor to file the
corresponding case in court. Even if the preliminary investigation had been given over to the Provincial
Prosecutor to conduct, his determination of the nature of the offense to be charged would still be
subject to the approval of the Office of the Ombudsman. This is because under §31 of the Ombudsman’s
Act, when a prosecutor is deputized, he comes under the “supervision and control” of the Ombudsman
which means that he is subject to the power of the Ombudsman to direct, review, approve, reverse or
modify his (prosecutor’s) decision. Petitioner cannot legally act on her own and refuse to prepare and
file the information as directed by the Ombudsman.
Same; Same; Suspension; Prior notice and hearing not required since suspension not being a penalty but
only a preliminary step in an administrative investigation.—Petitioner contends that her suspension is
invalid because the order was issued without giving her and Provincial Prosecutor Kintanar the
opportunity to refute the charges against them and because, at any rate, the evidence against them is
not strong as required by §24. The contention is without merit. Prior notice and hearing is not required,
such suspension not being a penalty but only a preliminary step in an administrative investigation.

Same; Same; Same; Whether the evidence of guilt is strong is left to the determination of the
Ombudsman by taking into account the evidence before him.—As held in Buenaseda v. Flavier, however,
whether the evidence of guilt is strong is left to the determination of the Ombudsman by taking into
account the evidence before him. A preliminary hearing as in bail petitions in cases involving capital
offenses is not required. In rejecting a similar argument as that made by petitioner in this case, this
Court said in that case: The import of the Nera decision is that the disciplining authority is given the
discretion to decide when the evidence of guilt is strong. This fact is bolstered by Section 24 of R.A. No.
6770, which expressly left such determination of guilt to the “judgment” of the Ombudsman on the
basis of the administrative complaint.

Same; Same; Same; Preventive suspension of petitioner and Provincial Prosecutor is justified to the end
that the proper prosecution of the case may not be hampered.—Given the attitude displayed by
petitioner and the Provincial Prosecutor toward the criminal case against Mayor Rogelio Ilustrisimo,
their preventive suspension is justified to the end that the proper prosecution of that case may not be
hampered. In addition, because the charges against the two prosecutors involve grave misconduct,
insubordination and neglect of duty and these charges, if proven, can lead to a dismissal from public
office, the Ombudsman was justified in ordering their preventive suspension.

Same; Same; Same; The preventive suspension for six (6) months without pay is thus according to law.—
On the other hand, petitioner and the Provincial Prosecutor were placed under preventive suspension
pursuant to §24 of the Ombudsman Act which expressly provides that “the preventive suspension shall
continue until the case is terminated by the Office of the Ombudsman but not more than six months,
without pay.” Their preventive suspension for six (6) months without pay is thus according to law.
Lastimosa vs. Vasquez, 243 SCRA 497, G.R. No. 116801 April 6, 1995

ISSUE : -WHETHER OR NOT Ombudsman may call upon government prosecutors for assistance in the
investigation and prosecution of criminal cases cognizable by his office and the conditions under
which he may do so?
-Preventive suspension of petitioner and Provincial Prosecutor is justified to the end that the
proper prosecution of the case may not be hampered?

FACTS:
 Jessica Dayon, public health nurse of Cebu, filed a criminal complaint for
 -frustrated rape and
 an administrative complaint for
 immoral acts,
 abuse of authority and
 grave misconduct
 against the Municipal Mayor of Santa Fe, Rogelio Ilustrisimo. The cases
were filed with the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas

 The complaint was assigned to a graft investigation officer who, after an investigation, found no
prima facie evidence and accordingly recommended the dismissal of the complaint. After
reviewing the matter.

 however, the Ombudsman, Hon. Conrado Vasquez, disapproved the recommendation and
instead directed that Mayor Ilustrisimo be charged with attempted rape in the Regional Trial
Court.

 Accordingly, the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas, Arturo C. Mojica, referred the case to Cebu
Provincial Prosecutor Oliveros E. Kintanar for the "filing of appropriate information. The case
was eventually assigned petitioner, First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Gloria G. Lastimosa.

 It appears that petitioner conducted a preliminary investigation on the basis of which she found
that only acts of lasciviousness had been committed.With the approval of Provincial Prosecutor
Kintanar,

 she filed an information for acts of lasciviousness against Mayor Ilustrisimo with the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court of Santa Fe.

 In two letters written to the Provincial Prosecutor Deputy Ombudsman Mojica inquired as to
any action taken on the previous referral of the case, more specifically the directive of the
Ombudsman to charge Mayor Ilustrisimo with attempted rape.

 As no case for attempted rape had been filed by the Prosecutor's Office,- Deputy Ombudsman
Mojica ordered oProvincial Prosecutor Kintanar and petitioner Lastimosa to show cause why
they should not be punished for contempt for "refusing and failing to obey the lawful directives"
of the Office of the Ombudsman.

 It appears that, two cases had been filed against the two prosecutors with the Office of the
Ombudsman for Visayas by Julian Menchavez, a resident of Cebu.
 One was an administrative complaint for violation of Republic Act No. 6713 and
 P.D. No. 807 (the Civil Service Law) and
 another one was a criminal complaint The complaints were
 based on the alleged refusal of petitioner and Kintanar to obey the orders of
the Ombudsman to charge Mayor Ilustrisimo with attempted rape.

 In the administrative case Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Mojica issued an order on August 15,
1994, placing petitioner Gloria G. Lastimosa and Provincial Prosecutor Oliveros E. Kintanar under
preventive suspension for a period of six (6) months, , (Administrative Order No. 7. The order
was approved by Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez

 On the other hand, the Graft Investigation Officer II, Edgardo G. Canton, issued orders in the two
cases, directing petitioners to submit their counter affidavits and controverting evidence.

 On September 6, 1994, petitioner Gloria G. Lastimosa filed the present petition for certiorari and
prohibition to set aside the the orders of the Office of the Ombudsman and Department of
Justice:
 for filing of the appropriate action (for Attempted Rape) with the
Regional Trial Court of Danao City.
 Order to explain in writing within three (3) days from receipt why they
should not be punished for indirect Contempt of the Office of the
Ombudsman "
 The 1st Indorsement of Acting Justice Secretary Ramon J. Liwag,
ordering the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor to comply with the
directive of the Office of the Ombudsman
 Order of Deputy Ombudsman Mojica, duly approved by Ombudsman
that petitioner and Provincial Prosecutor Kintanar under preventive
suspension for a period of six (6) months, without pay.
 The 1st Indorsement of Acting Justice Secretary Liwag directing
Assistant Regional State Prosecutor Concepcion to implement the of
Ombudsman Vasquez, together with the Order placing petitioner and
Provincial Prosecutor Kintanar under preventive suspension.
 Department Order No. 259 issued by Acting Secretary Liwag designating
Assistant Regional State Prosecutor Concepcion Acting Provincial
Prosecutor of Cebu.