The Senate is not dismissing Senator Joel Villanueva, in defiance of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ order last month.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who also heads the Senate Committee on Rules, moved to adopt a recommendation submitted by Senate Legal Counsel Maria Valentina Cruz, which stated that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over lawmakers.
No senator opposed the adoption of Cruz’ legal opinion against dismissal order.
Cruz declared that the Ombudsman has no adminstrative authority over Senators and members of the House of Representatives.
She cited as basis the Ombdusman Act of 1989 and the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Cruz maintained that only the Senate can impose penalties against its members, following its rules of proceedings, with the recommendation of the Senate Ethics Committee and the concurrence of two-thirds of its members.
The Ombudsman’s suspension order for Villanueva is in connection with his alleged involvement in a P 10-million pork barrel scam back when he was still a member of the House of Representatives.