Roque: President likely to pick jurist as next Ombudsman

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 3) — Presidential spokesman Harry Roque takes back his bet on the next Ombudsman.

Contrary to his previous speculation that President Rodrigo Duterte's former lawyer, Edna Herrera-Batacan, would be a strong candidate for the post,

Roque told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday that a judge was likely to be a "frontliner" for the post.

"Ayaw niya ng pulitiko [The President doesn't want a politician], that's why I'm reading the names of the career jurists. I would say (they) have an upper hand," Roque said.

Roque first opined on ANC's Headstart in June that Batacan was a likely pick.

Since then, another Duterte ally, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, alleged that Batacan charged a client ₱8 million to arrange for the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss complaints against him. However, charges were filed and Batacan supposedly did not return the money.

"I would say Atty. Batacan is still there, but thanks to me, she's now the subject of intense media scrutiny," said Roque. "Let's face it, I don't think she's had as much chance now that the media has gone through her records."

Some of the others vying for the post are Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, Sandiganbayan Justice Efren De la Cruz, Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires, and Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval.

The incumbent Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio Morales, is set to retire on July 26.