Too many high-paying posts? Ombudsman told to fix workforce imbalance

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 05:25 PM

MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has told the Office of the Ombudsman to improve its workforce and organizational structure by filling up the agency's low and mid-level positions instead of just focusing on high-ranking officials.

In its 2019 annual report on the Office of the Ombudsman, state auditors noted that 291 individuals are within the "high-level" Salary Grade (SG) 26 to 28, while there are only 86 people within the "mid-level" SG 22 to 25 and only 80 in the "low level" SG 11 to 18.

Auditors noted that in the traditional workforce setup, there should be more "doers" or low-level workers doing the legwork than "thinkers" or those in the high-level positions.

"The Ombudsman’s core workforce scenario also affects the delivery of the agency’s function and mandate characterized by [a] significant number of unresolved cases and/or complaints [that] carry over year after year, primarily attributed to the large workforce gaps noted in low and mid-level positions," the auditors said.

The commission recommended, and the management agreed, to formulate a hiring policy which would give priority to the employment and on-boarding of low and mid-level core positions seen to accelerate the resolution of pending complaints and cases.

UNFINISHED CASES

Auditors added that the actual accomplishments of the Office of the Ombudsman were less than 50 percent of the total workload in areas important to its mandate such as forfeiture cases, criminal and administrative cases as well as prosecution.

"It was further commented by the management that with the ongoing rationalization and retrofitting under Hon. Ombudsman Martires, through the newly created Committee on Reorganization, it is expected that the issues and observations noted will henceforth be fully addressed,” auditors noted in the report.

Auditors also noted that non-core workers comprise 56 percent or 592 individuals compared to just 44 percent or 457 individuals who do core work, which means the Ombudsman is more attuned to fulfilling administrative processes than its core functions.

"As recognized by the Honorable Ombudsman himself, individual capability and qualification have to be established for the talent mapping to take off, which entails the process of finding the right people, putting them in the right roles, and encouraging the best people by creating career pathways that meet their own professional development needs, and the needs of the Ombudsman as well," auditors noted.

The commission also took note of two rank and file employees working in supervisory positions in the Mindanao office for more than two years, contrary to the Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Human Resource Actions.

The Mindanao office told the commission that the two employees were given authority to perform higher level jobs by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and that since August 6, 2019, the hiring of employees was temporarily suspended.

Martires' officed received on September 8 a copy of the report, which was also uploaded on COA's website.