Duterte receives shortlist of nominees for next Ombudsman

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 20) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday received the shortlist of candidates for the next Ombudsman.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which screens applicants to the judiciary, nominated three contenders to head the body that investigates erring government officials.

They are Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires, Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval, and lawyer Felito Ramirez.

Six JBC members voted for Martires, five for Sandoval, and four for Ramirez, according to the JBC's letter to Duterte.

From these three names, Duterte will choose who will replace Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is retiring on July 26.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, an aspirant for the post, was dropped from the list. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who also sits in the JBC, said Bello was disqualified because of a pending syndicated estafa case against him before the Department of Justice.

During the public interviews, Ramirez, who is Duterte's fraternity brother, said the Ombudsman is the "Superman in the whole structure of the country."

Sandoval, a former Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice, took pride in boosting the conviction rate of prosecutors under the Office of the Ombudsman through a series of training.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque previously said that a judge was likely to be a "frontliner" for the post.