Ombudsman has too many thinkers, not enough doers: COA

    378

    THE Office of the Ombudsman has 291 personnel in high-level positions at salary grade (SG) 26 to 28 representing 64 percent of its total workforce and 86 mid-level officials at SG 22 to 25 comprising 19 percent, leaving only 17 percent or 80 employees at the low level positions.

    With this structure, the Commission on Audit said the country’s anti-corruption agency has an inverted pyramid workforce setup with too many “thinkers” or high-level officials and not enough “doers” or regular workers.

    “There is a huge mismatch of low-level positions and mid-level positions against high-level positions, far from the ideal workforce setup. It is worth stating that low and mid-level positions, even considering the Ombudsman’s uniqueness, are those considered as foot soldiers doing most of the legwork,” the audit team said.

    Based on the 2019 audit report, the Office of the Ombudsman spent P1.577 billion on personnel services last year, including salaries, benefits and allowances of its employees, up from up from P1.46 billion in 2018.

    The COA, however, noted that Ombudsman Samuel Martires is implementing a “rationalization and retrofitting” of available manpower to address the workforce gaps.

    “The OMB’s core workforce scenario affects the delivery of the agency’s function and mandate characterized by significant number of unresolved cases and/or complaints carry over year after year,” auditors pointed out.

    Carryover cases from 2017 to 2018 numbered only 646 but increased to 2,466 from 2018 to 2019.

    Over the same period, carryover forfeiture cases increased from 45 to 53 percent while unresolved criminal cases increased from 2,601 in 2017 to 2,801 in 2018.

    In addition, the audit team said a talent mapping of available manpower in the Ombudsman Central Office, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO), and the Office of the Special Prosecutor showed that there are 592 employees (56 percent) holding non-core positions while only 457 (44 percent) comprised the core positions.

    This ratio, auditors said, is more suitable for an agency doing administrative processes and not for the Office of the Ombudsman.

    “In retrospect, the OMB shall act promptly on complaints …against officers or employees of the government, and enforce their administrative, civil or criminal liability. This mandate requires equitable workforce so that efficient and effective discharge of the agency’s core functions would be achieved,” the COA pointed out.