MANILA, Philippine (UPDATED) – A Davao judge and a lawyer from the “powerhouse” San Beda batch have applied to replace Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales who is set to retire this July 2018.
Informed sources in the judiciary confirmed to Rappler that Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Carlos Espero II and lawyer Rex Rico are among those who submitted their applications for the Ombudsman post.
Rico is a batchmate of former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II from the San Beda College of Law. He hails from Iloilo and was admitted to the Bar in 1972.
He is currently part of the law firm Rico & Associates Lawyers.
Espero, meanwhile, has served as the judge of Davao City RTC Branch 9 since 2012. One of the cases he handled is a drug case against a suspected member of the 14-K international drug syndicate in 2015.
He tried to enter politics by being the second nominee of Aktibong Bayang Pilipino Inc. The party list group, however, was disqualified from running in the 2013 polls.
Another Davao judge, Judge Rowena Adlawan of the Davao City RTC Branch 13, initially applied but later withdrew her application, sources said.
In 2016, she applied for the Supreme Court associate justice position vacated by then SC Justice Jose Perez. During the interviews conducted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the rate of acquittal of drug cases in her court was questioned.
The two names join the list of Ombudsman hopefuls – Duterte and Mike Arroyo’s former lawyer Edna Batacan, Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval, and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro was nominated by retired associate justice Arturo Brion but she declined the nomination.
De Castro is set to retire from the SC in October 2018, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
The deadline for applications is Tuesday, May 15. – with reports from Lian Buan/Rappler.com