With the expiration of term of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales today, July 26, President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires whom he called as “bright,“strict” and “fair man”.
Duterte made the annoucement during his speech in celebration of the 69th “Araw ng Ipil” in Zamboanga Sibugay. “We have a new Ombudsman. I signed the appointment of Justice Martires,” Duterte said.
Martires served as a Sandiganbayan justice for 11 years before he was appointed as Supreme Court Associate Justice in March 2017 and the first Justice to be appointed in the Supreme Court under Duterte’s administration. He will reach his mandatory age of retirement for the SC next January 2019.
Interestingly, Martires received 11 votes of confidence from his colleagues at the high court. While in the Judicial and Bar Council, he received six votes and led the shortlist that included three names. While he led the shortlist in JBC, his nomination to the ombudsman post was met with opposition from a group of theology teachers who accused him of “faith-shaming” former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition that eventually voided her appointment. But Martires denied their accusation.
Duterte believes that Martires can handle even the high profile case because of his fairness, intelligence and strictness. My marching order to Martires is very simple: “Do what is right.”
There will be high-profile cases that will be handled Martires by continuing to probe on the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, Mamasapano clash of 2015, the wealth declaration document of presidential son Paolo Duterte and allegations of corruption at the Department of Tourism.
Martires who hails from Samar, is the 7th Ombudman and a graduate of San Beda Law School.