MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires as the new Ombudsman.
Duterte announced this in a speech during the 69th “Araw ng Ipil” in Zamboanga Sibugay on Thursday: “We have a new Ombudsman. I signed the appointment of Justice Martires.”
The chief executive said he has no marching order for Martires but to “do what is right.”
“I appointed him as justice. He asked, ‘Is there any order?’ I told him, ‘I do not have the power to order you. You belong to a different department. Independent ho tayo,” Duterte added.
He will replace Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is retiring today, July 26.
Martires, who bested Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval and private lawyer Felito Ramirez, served as an associate justice of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan for 12 years.
He was the President’s first appointee to the high court Court in March 2017
When he was SC justice, Martires voted in favor of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the continued detention of staunch Duterte critic Senator Leila de Lima, and the ouster of former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Martires also voted to uphold the plunder acquittal of former president-turned-House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The new Ombudsman had also penned the 2011 Sandiganbayan decision that cleared then-Davao Mayor Duterte in a corruption charge involving a project in the city.
The Ombudsman is responsible for investigating and prosecuting government officials accused of crimes, especially graft and corruption.(davaotoday.com)