Supreme Court recommends Martires as Ombudsman

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court unanimously voted to recommend retiring Associate Justice Samuel Martires for the post of Ombudsman.

“He obtained 11 votes of the 12 Justices who were present,” Court Spokesman Theodore Te said in a news conference on Tuesday, July 17.

Associate Justices Estela Perlas Bernabe and Benjamin Caguioa were not present, and Martires did not take part in the voting. (READ: Priests, pastors oppose Martires’ Ombudsman application)

The recommendation is sent to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for its consideration. The JBC will vote on its official short list when the members convene on Friday, July 20.

Apart from Martires, the Supreme Court cast 4 votes in support of Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval and 3 votes for Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Traditionally, the Supreme Court makes recommendations to the JBC when the body is screening applicants for Supreme Court justice post. The practice was temporarily stopped during the term of former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, but resumed after she was ousted.

Martires was a former associate justice of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, while Sandoval was its former presiding justice. Sandiganbayan is where most of the Ombudsman cases go for judgment.

Another applicant is incumbent Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz. (READ: Sandiganbayan justices vow to address delay in cases if appointed Ombudsman)

Former Ombudsman prosecutor and high-profile defense attorney Edna Batacan also applied. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales flagged Batacan’s application after the lawyer admitted involvement in a past payoff  at the Ombudsman.

Morales officially retires on July 26. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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