Graft cases: Record number filed in 15 yrs

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From January to June this year, the anti-graft body filed an average of 124 cases per month. The numbers hit the lowest during the time of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez – 93 cases in one year


MANILA, Philippines – It looks like the anti-graft body is in for a record-breaking year.

Having filed 747 cases with the Sandiganbayan as of June, the Office of the Ombudsman has surpassed its own record in the last 15 years.

The number of cases filed as of middle of this year is already almost twice as many as a full year’s count (395) in 2012.

According to figures released recently by the Sandiganbayan Judicial Records Division, the Ombudsman filed 121 cases in January and 172 cases in February this year.

Its numbers dropped to just eight cases in March before topping 299 cases in April followed by 47 in May and 100 in June.

It has been filing an avergae of 124 cases per month.

The cases were classified into:

  • Graft – 271 charges
  • Malversation of public funds – 161 counts
  • Estafa – 127 indictments
  • Violations of presidential decrees – 95
  • Perjury – 11 counts
  • Various offenses – 77 cases. 

However, the Ombudsman’s conviction rate still needs improvement. It only managed 21 convictions out of 163 public officials and private defendants charged with various criminal offenses, or just 12.9% of the cases filed.

The other cases resulted in:

  • Acquittal – 31 cases
  • Dismissal – 54 cases
  • Withdrawal by the Ombudsman – 43 charges
  • Archiving for lack of progress – 13 cases
  • Accused turning into state witness – 1 case

The previous peak for the number of graft cases filed was 884 attained for a full year in 1997.

Based on court records, the closest the Ombudsman got to its current year’s total was back in 1998, when it filed 698 cases.

Over the same period, the lowest number was 93 cases, posted in 2007 under former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who resigned in April 2011 to preempt an impeachment trial. – 

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