No Mindanao ombudsman yet after 90-day deadline

"There is still no appointment. We are still awaiting the President's decision," lawyer Marco Buena told MindaNews Thursday.


The post was vacated when Ombudsman Antonio Valenzuela retired on July 4. With the 90-day period mandated for the appointment of a replacement, the new ombudsman should have been named on Oct. 2.


Buena did not discount political movements in Manila amid a decision of Tanodbayan Merciditas Gutierrez to revert a Supreme Court decision on a case against Commission on Elections officials.


"But the rule is only directorate and Malacañang might have leeway to appoint beyond the period," he said.


Buena noted that another point of reference on the start of the 90-day period is from the day the short list of candidates was submitted to President Arroyo.


The list was submitted in mid-August after the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) interviewed 13 applicants to the post on July 25.


Davao City's chief prosecutor Raul Bendigo and Digos City Executive Judge Marivic Trabajo-Daray are among the four in the short list.


The others are Ombudsman Manila officials, acting deputy special prosecutor Humprey Monteroso and assistant ombudsman Pelagio Apostol.


A source from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao City chapter said the President already picked her choice but has not issued appointment papers yet.


Director Rodolfo Elman is serving as the officer-in-charge awaiting the appointment of the new Mindanao ombudsman. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)