[In the news] 25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Tetch Torres

MANILA, Philippines—Twenty-five aspirants to the top post at the Office of the Ombudsman have accepted their nominations, according to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Among the nominees are Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who is set to retire in June, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, Alternative Law Group head Marlon Manuel and Free Legal Assistance Group Chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman, now acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, is also among the nominees. He was nominated by evangelist Mike Velarde.

But of the 25, Morales has been reported to be President Benigno Aquino III’s top choice for the post. She swore in Aquino as president during his inauguration in June 2010.

The JBC said Morales was nominated by retired judge and head of the Transparency International Philippines Dolores Español, retired judge Leticia Sablan of the Women Lawyers’ Association of the Philippines Inc. and University of the Philippines Law Alumni Association Class of 1968 President Beda Fajardo.

Those who declined their nomination were retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Maria Theresa Acosta, Pedro Aquino, Wilberto Candelaria, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Lawyer Arno Sanidad.

The 25 are hoping to replace Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned last May 6.

RA 6770 (Ombudsman law) requires the Ombudsman to be “natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 40 years old, of recognized probity and independence, member of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidate for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding election whether regular or special.”

The Ombudsman, who has a fixed term of seven years, must also have at least 10 years of experience as a judge or law practitioner in the Philippines.

The country only had four since the 1987 Constitution was drafted. They are the late Conrado Vasquez Sr., Aniano Desierto, Simeon Marcelo, and Gutierrez.

The JBC, who screens applicants to the judiciary and the office of the Ombudsman, will convene on May 23.

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