Coalition for Justice group questions Martires's independence as new Ombudsman - The Daily Sentry

Friday, July 27, 2018

Coalition for Justice group questions Martires's independence as new Ombudsman

Composite photo of Coalition for Justice (CFJ) group that rallied behind the ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (from Inquirer). and new Ombudsman Samuel Martires from Philstar

Manila, Philippines – The same group that rallied behind former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno questions the appointment of Associate Justice Samuel Martires as the new ombudsman.

On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte already announced his newly appointed Ombudsman – Martires, who was also the first appointee of the chief executive at the Supreme Court.

Now the new corruption fighter of the country, taking the position vacated by Conchita Carpio-Morales.

However, a group named Coalition for Justice stressed that Martires “has not displayed independence” – a characteristic that an Ombudsman must have aside from having probity and integrity.

“As justice of the Sandiganbayan and the Supreme Court, his decisions have been suspiciously aligned with the interests of this and previous administrations,” the group said in a statement.

CFJ do not favor Martires because of his stance such as voting in favor of late Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Mindanao martial law and also for participating on Sereno’s ouster.

“This is the same Justice Martires who refused to inhibit himself from the quo warranto case against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno despite his clear demonstration of bias and faith-shamed her during the oral arguments,” it said.*

Presidential son and resigned Davao City vice mayor Pulong Duterte / photo from RMN PH

The coalition group also questions Martires’ loyalty and independence. At the anti-graft court, he penned the 2011 decision, junking the graft charges against then Davao City mayor Duterte over a certain city project.

Moreover, CFJ also expresses worry that the newly appointed Ombudsman will not persistently pursue the ill-gotten wealth cases against resigned Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte.

The group also believes that Martires may not seriously investigate the bank accounts of the Duterte family.

“Considering his track record, the new ombudsman gives us little hope that the corrupt within the Duterte administration will be brought to justice,” the group said.

The new Ombudsman received 11 votes of confidence from his colleagues at the Supreme Court. While he got six votes in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Meanwhile, during his JBC interview, Martires said that he does not have close ties to the president.

President Rodrigo Duterte first appointed Martires as Associate Chief Justice / photo from the Summit Express 

Source: Philstar