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GR No. 106719


Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Temporary
Restraining Order

Petition sought to nullify the Order of the Ombudsman on January 7, 1992, directing preventive suspension of
petitioners, Dr. Brigida Buenaseda, Isabelo Banez, Jr., Conrado Matias, Cora Solis and Enya Lopez. It also
sought to disqualify Director Raul Arnaw and Investigator Amy de Villa-Rosero from participation in the
preliminary investigation of the charges against petitioner.

1. Whether or not the Ombudsman has the power to suspend government officials and employees working
in offices other than the Office of the Ombudsman, pending the investigation of the administrative
complaints filed against said officials and employees

2. Whether or not the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction

1. YES. The power “to recommend the suspension” of a public official or employees vested by the
Constitution to the Ombudsman is referred to as a punitive measure. Section 24 of RA 6770, which
grants Ombudsman the power to preventively suspend public officials and employees facing
administrative charges before him, is a procedural statute. It stated that preventive suspension is imposed
after compliance with the requisites as an aid in the investigation of administrative charges.

It is expressed in the Constitution that Ombudsman is authorized to recommend to the appropriate

official the discipline or prosecution of erring public officials or employees. To make an intelligent
determination whether to recommend such actions, the Ombudsman has to investigate. In turn, to be
expeditious and efficient, he may need to suspend the respondent. The need for preventive suspension
may arise from causes such as: the danger of tampering or destruction of evidence in possession of
respondent, intimidation of witnesses, etc. The Ombudsman should be given the discretion to decide
when the person facing administrative charges should be preventively suspended.

2. NO. The questioned order of the Ombudsman was validly issued even without a full-blown hearing and
formal presentation of evidence since it was a mere order for preventive suspension. Ombudsman issued
the order of preventive suspension only after petitioners had filed their answer to the administrative
complaint and the “Motion for the Preventive Suspension” of petitioners, which incorporated the charges
in the criminal complain against them, private respondents had filed a reply to the answer of the
petitioners, specifying 23 cases of harassment by petitioners to private respondents and preliminary
conference wherein the complaint and the respondents in the administrative case agreed to submit their
list of witnesses and documentary evidence.

Wherefore, petition was DISMISSED and the status quo ordered to be maintained in the Resolution dated
September 22, 1992 is LIFTED and SET ASIDE.