Bello to 'unfair' JBC: 'I was not given due process'

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) did not give him “due process” when he was disqualified for the post of the Ombudsman.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, July 25, Bello explained he was disqualified by the JBC on the grounds that he apparently had a pending case with the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the time of deliberations. He said he was not aware of it then.

“I was not aware of any case against me. The day I was informed that I was disqualified, [I] tried to look at my records and I found that there was a case filed as early as 2012. I was charged of a syndicated estafa,” he told reporters.

Bello denied involvement in the corporation he allegedly chaired and founded. He said he had filed a counter affidavit from way back.

“Tinatanong ko lang sa JBC bakit nung nag-interview, bakit nila ako i-interviewhin if idi-disqualify ako? Why did they not confront me first about this?” Bello said.

(I’m just asking JBC, when they interviewed me, why did they interview me if they will eventually disqualify me? Why did they not confront me about this?)

The DOJ has recently dismissed the case, Bello said. But he added it should have been done before due to “inordinate delay.”

“To be fair to JBC, I don’t question the selected nominees. That is their privilege. But the process, I think it’s unfair. They denied me due process,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

On Friday, July 20, the JBC has submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte the following names for the post: Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires, Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval, and lawyer Felito Ramirez.

Sources said that Bello was supposedly a front-runner during the application process. The labor chief earlier said he had always wanted to help the President in his anti-corruption drive better if he becomes Ombudsman.


Bello said his enemies are bent on booting him out of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and derailing his bid for Ombudsman.

On Wednesday, he reiterated his call for his enemies to file a case against him instead of putting him on “trial by publicity.”

“Go to court and sue me if you think you have evidence against me. Why lodge the complaints with the PACC (Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission) or with Arnold Clavio? They are not courts,” Bello said.

The labor chief said he will seek legal action against his detractors.

Despite the allegations, Malacañang said that Bello still enjoys the trust of the President. —

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.