President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he has appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires as the new Ombudsman.
Duterte made the announcement on the day Conchita Carpio-Morales ended her stint as the head of the anti-graft body after completing a seven-year term.
"He is strict. He's from the Sandiganbayan but he is bright and he is a fair man," the President said of Martires in a speech during the 69th Araw ng Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Duterte recalled that when he named Martires to the high court in March last year, the latter asked him what his marching orders would be.
"He asked me, 'Is there any order?' And my response was: 'I do not have the power to order you. You belong to a different department. We are independent of each other. All I can tell you and this is my statement: Do what is right,'" the President said in a mix of Cebuano, Filipino, and English.
Martires, who is supposed to retire from the judiciary in January next year, beat Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval and lawyer Felito Ramirez for the post.
The SC earlier recommended Martires for the position of Ombudsman, just a little more than a year after he was appointed to the high tribunal.
Martires, 69, was Sandiganbayan justice from 2006 until early 2017.
He was trial court judge in Agoo, La Union before he was elevated to the anti-graft court. He obtained his law degree from San Beda College, the alma mater of Duterte and some Cabinet members like former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
At the high court, Martires sided with the Duterte administration in some high profile cases including the imposition of martial law in Mindanao and the detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima on drug charges.
Martires also voted for the ouster of then-Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, a critic of Duterte and his controversial policies such as the war on drugs and the federalism initiative.
Pres. Duterte appointed SC Justice Martires as Ombudsman
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent