CIBAC Party-List Representative Sherwin Tugna lauded the enactment of Republic Act (RA) No. 11059, or the “Retirement Law of the Office of the Ombudsman”, which seeks to strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman by establishing a competitive retirement benefit system for officials and employees working under the anti-graft and corruption agency.
“We in CIBAC Party-List welcome the signing of RA 11059. CIBAC, whose main advocacy is anti-corruption, has been pushing for the passage of this law since the 15th Congress. It is only fitting that our government recognize the need to provide the Office of the Ombudsman retirement benefits at par with other officials with prosecutorial and investigatory functions in the Judiciary given their invaluable contribution in our battle against corruption,” said Tugna, principal author of the law in the House of Representatives.
“I was on my first term as Representative of CIBAC Party-List when we first filed a bill on strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman. Now with the signing of RA 11059, we can finally claim that the government puts premium on the dedicated service of the country’s graft-busters,” he added.
The good governance advocate highlighted the need for this law to encourage competent and dedicated individuals to join and stay with the Office of the Ombudsman in their pursuit to eradicate corruption in the country.
RA 11059 aims to address the “brain drain” or high turnover rate of Ombudsman employees as their benefits are not commensurate to their delicate task of gathering evidence and establishing air-tight cases against erring public officials.
The law covers the Ombudsman, his or her deputies, the special prosecutor, and other employees with salary grade 26 to 29, who are performing legal, prosecution, investigation, and corruption prevention functions, and whose position requires membership in the Philippine bar or a Master’s degree.
Under RA 11059, the Ombudsman, who has served a full term of seven years, would enjoy the same retirement and other benefits as those provided to the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals. Deputies and the special prosecutor would be entitled to the same benefits as those of an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals after serving for a full term of seven years.
All other officials and employees would be eligible to the same retirement and other benefits as those of the judges in the lower courts with the same salary grades.
When an Ombudsman official or employee, however, assumes an elective position in government, s/he shall not receive the monthly pension or any of the allowances under this law, upon his or her assumption of office as an elected official.
The law further states that no Ombudsman official or employee shall appear as counsel before any judicial or quasi-judicial agency in any civil case wherein the government or any agency is an adverse party, or in any criminal case wherein any government official or employee is accused of an offense related to their office, or in any administrative proceeding to maintain an interest adverse to the government in order for them to be entitled to the benefits.
“The prevalence of corruption in the country remains to be a reality. Through RA 11059, we hope to further galvanize the government’s efforts in its continuing fight against graft and corruption by investing in the people behind the Office of the Ombudsman,” Tugna ended.