Sandiganbayan speed, Ombudsman laziness means there are 24% fewer pending corruption cases

There are 24% fewer pending corruption cases before the Sandiganbayan by the end of 2019, thanks to the anti-graft court’s improved speed in disposing of cases coupled with the Ombudsman’s unwillingness to bring new indictments against public officials.

According to the year-end report of the Sandiganbayan’s Judicial Records Division, the court’s seven divisions have a combined pending workload of 3,981 cases.

At the beginning of 2019, there had been 5,327 pending cases. In other words, the court disposed of 1,114 cases throughout the year, or an average of 93 cases per month.

The court kept its streak of resolving more than a thousand cases. It had resolved 1,264 and 1,075 cases in 2017 and 2018, respectively. This coincided with the Supreme Court’s (SC) introduction of revised guidelines for the continuous trial of cases in September 2017.

On the other hand, the Ombudsman only filed 198 new cases before the Sandiganbayan for 2019. This was 73% fewer than the 739 cases filed in 2018.

The Ombudsman’s productivity crashed because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s choice to appoint his schoolmate Samuel Martires to the position. In 2017, under Martires’s predecessor, Conchita Carpio Morales, prosecutors actually filed a total of 2,513 new cases, a 36-year high.

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