Ombudsman asks Senate to repeal ARTA law

By Wilnard Bacelonia

September 27, 2022, 5:20 pm

<p>Ombudsman Samuel Martires <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Ombudsman Samuel Martires (File photo)

MANILA – Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed on Tuesday to senators to abolish the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) as there are more effective measures that will repel corruption.

Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, created the ARTA in 2018.

The law amended RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Martires said the law has overlapped with the functions of other agencies in determining the causes of inefficiency.

"These will give the local government units and the department heads the authority to discipline its own men. Not the Ombudsman to say na kayo ay nagkasala (that you are guilty)," the Ombudsman told the senators during their budget hearing.

The ARTA can initiate an investigation motu propio, or upon receipt of a complaint, or file cases for violations.

It is also mandated to review proposed major regulations of government agencies using regulatory impact assessment.

"While we are undertaking right now that function to address red tape, ay merong isang ahensya na gumagawa din. Wala po akong problema doon. Kaya lang ang na-isip naming may mga simpleng (there is another agency which is also doing it. I have no problem with that. However, what we are thinking are just simple) policies," he said.

In a statement on September 14, ARTA said it respects the Ombudsman’s opinion and is reaching out to to seek clarification on the agency’s investigative function to ensure that it is aligned with the jurisdiction of Martires’ office.

“ARTA can only recommend to the Office of the Ombudsman and Civil Service Commission which have the discretion and authority to file necessary cases against erring government officials,” the statement read.

It added that ARTA will submit to government authorities who have the power to amend and repeal the law and abide by the guidance of the Office of the President to which it is an attached agency.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III told Martires to make use of his office's proposed fund to implement more reforms.

Martires, who will serve until 2025, is proposing a budget of PHP4.781 billion for 2023. (PNA)