Nene Pimentel rejects abolition of Ombudsman in new Constitution

MANILA, Philippines – Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr may be in favor of revising the 1987 Constitution for a shift to a federal form of government, but the veteran lawmaker does not see the need to change its "good provisions."

"Let me emphasize that the good provisions of the Constitution should not be revised! For example, the existing system of the Ombudsman, why should we revise that?" said Pimentel, a longtime advocate of federalism, as the Senate resumed deliberations on proposals to amend the Constitution.

He was referring to proposals at the House of Representatives to abolish the Ombudsman, an independent body tasked to probe and file cases against public officials accused of wrongdoing.

Lawmakers instead suggested that its role be given to the Department of Justice (DOJ), which is under the executive branch. The Ombudsman is tasked to probe officials from all branches of government.

The House is also deliberating on proposed amendments made by sub-committees. This is ongoing even as the House on January 16 approved a resolution pushing for the convening of Congress as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), one of the 3 ways to amend the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Senate has not yet made a final decision on the necessity of Charter Change or the method to undertake it. Senators, however, have unanimously decided  to reject proposals for the two chambers to vote jointly. (READ: What you need to know about Charter Change)

While the sub-committee report in itself suggests that the Office of the Ombudsman remains, it is still subject to revisions depending on discussions at the committee level. Its eventual output will be submitted as a recommendation should the Con-Ass be convened.

Pimentel is the father of current Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III. (LOOK BACK: Past Charter Change attempts and why they failed) –