Ulloa: Substitute ignores role of Ombudsman

The ombudsman, Pablo Ulloa, considered yesterday that his second deputy, Miguel Puello, ignores the constitutional role of the body and Law 19-01, which creates the Ombudsman.

He said that the role of the Ombudsman’s substitutes is to make up for the absences of the holder, since no rule of the legal system confers other prerogatives on them.

He indicated that the Ombudsman, as an institution that requires other public authorities to comply with the rules, cannot and should not be allowed to conveniently adjust the law to personal criteria and much less to a capricious distribution of the established functions exhaustively.

Ulloa reacted in this way to an article published on Wednesday in the Listín Diario, by the second alternate, Miguel Puello, in which he stated that the head of the Ombudsman, Pablo Ulloa, is running the institution unilaterally and he questioned that during a whole year of management he has not convened a single meeting with the two deputies and the two alternates.

Below is the full document, with the reaction of the Ombudsman, to the article published by the second alternate Miguel Puello:

The second alternate ignores the constitutional role of the body and Law no. 19-01 that creates the Ombudsman. Based on these provisions, the role of the substitutes of the Ombudsman is, as its name indicates, to supply the absences of the head of the Ombudsman, since no rule of the legal system confers other prerogatives on them.

The Ombudsman, as an institution that requires other public authorities to comply with the rules, cannot and should not be allowed to conveniently adjust the law to personal criteria, much less to a capricious distribution of the functions established exhaustively. Therefore, this context allows us to further strengthen knowledge about the composition and powers of this constitutional body in the collective imaginary.

Citizens, to whom the Ombudsman is accountable, should know that the concept of collegiate body does not exist in articles 190 and following of the Constitution and, as is logical, neither in Law no. 19-01 that creates the Ombudsman. If the constituent and the legislator had promoted a collegiate model of the constitutional body, it would be reflected in the law, in addition, it is public knowledge that five (5) ombudsmen were not appointed, but one (1) Ombudsman, two (2 ) assistants and two (2) alternates.

In the case of other bodies, such as the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Superior Electoral Court, the Chamber of Accounts and the Central Electoral Board, the Constituent Assembly established a composition and later the legislator defined roles related to the function constitutional they perform. These bodies are characterized by: a) the election of members with the same powers; b) the election of a president with the same powers and others attributed to him by law; c) the convergence of the same in a body called plenary session.

Therefore, if what we had to infer from the mandate of the Constitution and the spirit of the legislator is that the Ombudsman is a collegiate body, then the text of article 192 of the substantive letter would not refer to the election of one (1) Ombudsman and his deputies (2) —since this part does not refer to alternates—, but to five (5) Ombudsmen.

Beyond all this, in none of the plenary sessions of the aforementioned constitutional bodies, which are collegiate because established by the Constitution and their respective laws, the substitutes have functions beyond their natural and unequivocal purpose; They will replace the holders if and only if their absences occur. Only under these conditions are they empowered to carry out the same acts that the law confers on the holders.

It is important to highlight that, even in the case of the councils provided for in the Constitution and in the organic laws of other institutions, both the composition, election and period of permanence of its members, as well as the functions and mechanisms of participation, are established in said regulations, but this is not the case of the Ombudsman.

A timely example is that of the Attorney General’s Office, where the Attorney General and their deputies do not form a collegiate body; there is no plenary in the Attorney General’s Office and none of the deputies has proposed such a distortion. But, in article 174 of the 2010 Constitution, the Superior Council of the Public Ministry was established, made up of members of all levels of the Public Ministry, to democratically decide the matters that the constituent conferred on the Council and that are developed in the Law Organic Office of the Public Ministry (no. 133-11).

For this reason, both constitutionally and legally, it is evident that the Ombudsman is not a collegiate body, as the second substitute has maintained, and any deviation or creation of functions that do not exist in the Constitution and in our Law no. 19-01 would compromise the responsibility of the Institution and the head of this body. To guarantee a social and democratic state of law, it is contraindicated to arrogate functions that neither the constituent nor the legislator has conferred on us.

Undoubtedly, the actions of the Ombudsman are subject to the scrutiny of different supervisory entities of the Dominican State. No institution is unrelated to the supervisory role of the Congress of the Republic, the first power of the State, to which on June 14, 2022 the Ombudsman presented the accountability report, accompanied by the deputies and alternates of this institution, with the detailed detail of each and every one of the actions and executions that correspond to the first year of management. Thanks to the support of the media, there is no step in the Ombudsman that today the Dominican society is not aware of.
This has borne fruit, which is why the Ombudsman, since October 1, 2021, carries out its budget execution online through the Financial Management Information System (SIGEFF) of the Ministry of Finance. Not to go too far, yesterday, August 30 of this year, different media echoed the news that the Ombudsman (DP) is one of the two constitutional bodies with the best score in matters of transparency during the first six months of this year, according to the evaluation carried out by the transparency portal of the General Directorate of Ethics and Government Integrity (DIGEIG).

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Substitute criticized lack of reports


Miguel Puello, second substitute of the Ombudsman, criticized that Pablo Ulloa in a year of management has not called a single meeting with officials that the legislator entrusted him with the responsibility of directing the Ombudsman. “It is unfortunate that an institution called to ensure that public officials apply a healthy and practical public administration to a year of management we have never met,” he quoted in an article for LISTÍN DIARIO. She considered necessary a report on the assets and liabilities of the management led by Dr. Zoila Martínez. She regretted that at this point the officials sworn in by the legislative power do not know what the economic situation of the Ombudsman is.

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