Martires right man for Ombudsman post: Guevarra

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 27, 2018, 7:03 pm

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday outgoing Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires is best suited for Ombudsman job.

“The right man for the job,” Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message sent to Philippine News Agency (PNA) when sought for a comment on Martires' appointment.

Martires replaced Conchita Carpio-Morales, who retired on Thursday after completing her seven-year term as the country’s ombudsman.

Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez expressed support to Martires' appointment, saying the outgoing Associate Justice would be an effective ombudsman with his judicial experience.

Gutierrez, who served as ombudsman from Dec. 1, 2015 until May 6, 2011, said she had a chance to work with Martires when he was still with the Sandiganbayan.

“The judicial experience of justice Martires more than enough ang judicial experience and untarnished reputation. He would be an effective Ombudsman,” Gutierrez told reporters after she attended the necrological service for former Court of Appeals (CA) justice Ricardo Puno Sr. held at the DOJ compound in Manila on Friday.

She also asked the officers and personnel at the Office of the Ombudsman to support Martires.

“He would know the cases and he would know how to deal with the Ombudsman investigation and the filing of cases,” said Gutierrez.

Martires is being criticized for his voting record such as favoring the quo warranto petition filed against former SC Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

“We should give him a chance. I am sure he would be independent and fair," said Gutierrez, referring to how Martires would handle the cases pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“The person has to be clean and up until now there is nothing that they can say against Justice Martires," she added.

On Thursday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed Martires as the new chief of the anti-graft body.

“I signed his appointment today. I told him to do what is right,” Duterte said in his speech at 69th "Araw ng Ipil" event in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Martires led the Judicial Bar and Council (JBC) shortlist of nominees to replace Morales.

Among those included in the shortlist were retired Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval and private practitioner Atty. Felito Ramirez.

Of the seven members of the JBC, Martires got six votes, Sandoval earned five, while Ramirez got four.

Martires, a graduate of San Beda College of Law and a former Sandiganbayan justice, was the first appointee of Duterte to the High Court in March 2017 after serving the Sandiganbayan for 12 years. (PNA)