MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, May 16, said he is ruling out politicians – and most especially women – as the Philippines' next Ombudsman.
In a chance interview on Wednesday, Duterte said that while the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will nominate the next Ombudsman, he will choose a person known for his integrity.
Referring to the JBC, Duterte said, "Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko 'yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae."
(They will nominate, but I will choose, and I want a person who is admired by people because of his integrity. Of course it could not be a politician, especially not a woman.)
Duterte did not explain why.
The current Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio Morales, is set to retire on July 26. (READ: LIST: Get to know the applicants for Ombudsman)
Consulting everyone, except Morales
On choosing an Ombudsman, Duterte said, "I will have to consult everybody. I will even have to consult the Ombudsman people, not Morales."
The Ombudsman Act of 1989 does not prohibit the appointment of politicians and women as Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman Act states: "The Ombudsman and his Deputies, including the Special Prosecutor, shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least forty (40) years old, of recognized probity and independence, members of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidates for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding election whether regular or special. The Ombudsman must have, for ten (10) years or more, been a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines."
Duterte was also asked on Wednesday about Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who applied for the post of Ombudsman.
Duterte answered, "I will assign him as labor attaché in Kuwait." – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.