Veteran prosecutor is new Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran Ombudsman prosecutor Cornelio Somido has been appointed Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
Somido replaced Gerard Mosquera, an appointee of former president Benigno Aquino III, who retired 4 months ago in June.
High-ranking sources confirmed to Rappler on Tuesday, December 3, that President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Somido.
Somido is a homegrown Ombudsman official who has handled high-stakes cases such as the botched NBN-ZTE deal with the government and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence fund scam case against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Somido was Deputy Special Prosecutor prior to his appointment. He is handling the pork barrel scam case of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, which remains at the pre-trial phase at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
Somido beat to the post the shortlisted candidates Beda Epres, an Ombudsman director, and Rodolfo Noel Quimbo, director general of the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Oversight Office Management.
Former justice undersecretary Erickson Balmes and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) executive director Eduardo Bringas also applied.
Bayani Jacinto, who served as acting Assistant Ombudsman for Luzon and who also applied for the post, was earlier appointed Sandiganbayan justice.
The Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon is the signing authority for indictments of public officials in Luzon, before the resolution is transmitted to the Ombudsman for final approval.
Deputy ombudsmen can dictate the pace, and even the outcome, of a case. Somido will hold the post for 7 years.
There is still no replacement for overall deputy ombudsman, a post left vacant by Melchor Arthur Carandang, who was fired for allegedly breaching confidentiality in the now-terminated investigation into Duterte's wealth.
Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval is serving as concurrent overall deputy ombudsman.
The other 3 deputy ombudsmen – Paul Elmer Clemente for Visayas, Rodolfo Elman for Mindanao, and Cyril Ramos for the military and other law enforcement offices (MOLEO) – will all finish their terms in 2021. – Rappler.com