Dilawan ba? Here are 11 things you need to know about the new Ombudsman Samuel Martires - The Daily Sentry

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Dilawan ba? Here are 11 things you need to know about the new Ombudsman Samuel Martires

Ombudsman Samuel Martires, photo from SMNI News Channel
Will Samuel Martires live up to being the just and upright Ombudsman he swore upon? Will he do whatever it takes just to act according to what the law mandates him to?

Whether or not he will be the kind of official the Filipino people expects him to be is up for the history to tell. But what do the public need to know about Samuel Martires to somehow have a glimpse of his brand of leadership?

To at least have an idea if the latter would be an impartial one or fair with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's administration, here are the 12 things about the new Ombudsman that you need to know:

1. He and Pres. Duterte were schoolmates back in college

Samuel Martires, just like the Mindanaon president, also obtained his law degree from San Beda College of Law. It was the president’s alma mater.

2. He is a fraternity brother of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

Both Martires and Duterte were members of Lex Talionis, a fraternity in San Beda Law School, thus making them fraternity brothers.

3. He was an Arroyo-appointee

Back in October 15, 2005, Martires was appointed by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Sandiganbayan. There, he served for 12 years.

4. He dismissed a Sandiganbayan case versus the then-Davao City Mayor Duterte

In 2008, the former-Mayor-turned-President Duterte ordered a demolition of a park that was installed by his political rival, former House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

This caused the then-acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro to charge ex-Mayor Duterte and 5 others with graft.

Casimiro said in a 25-page resolution that for demolishing a P2-million canal-cover project of the then-House Speaker Prospero Nograles, there was enough evidence to show that Duterte and company violated the RA No. 3019 which tackles the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The other five who were also indicted were city engineer Jose Gestuveo, Jr., former city administrator Wendel Avisado, drainage maintenance chief Yusop Jimlani, city lawyer Elmer RaƱo and former city legal officer Melchor Quitain.

However, in 2011, Martires wrote a Sandiganbayan resolution to which he stated that he found no probable cause in the allegations therefore dismissing the case.

In a report, he said that the accused cannot be charged with 'evident bad faith' or 'gross inexcusable negligence' for requesting to demolishing the said project.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires taking oath with the Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, photo from GMA News
"Aside from the fact that said structure was constructed without the necessary building permit, the accused city officials of Davao merely responded to the flooding problem experienced by their constituents in the affected areas when they demolished the concrete slabs covering the open drainage system," Martires wrote.

"Their motive was to lessen, if not eliminate completely, the flooding in the area caused by the clogging of the drainage system and nothing more," he added.

5. He signed a Supreme Court decision favoring Marcos and 2 others

In 2012, the now-Ombudsman Martires signed a decision anent a case filed against the Marcoses and the former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin as well as the late Armed Forces chief Fabian Ver.

In the SC decision released that Martires signed, the verdict was dismissing the P50-million damage suit over the alleged Binondo Central Bank during Martial Law.

6. He became controversial after signing an SC resolution

Following his move of signing an SC resolution in April 2013, Martires sparked controversy. The resolution upheld the plea bargain agreement of the then-military comptroller Major General Carlos Garcia.

Instead of plunder, the General pleaded guilty to lesser bailable offenses as agreed on the said deal.

7. He issued the arrest warrant against ex-senator Juan Ponce Enrile and others linked in the pork barrel scam

In 2014, the Sandiganbayan 3rd division  to which Martires was then a part of — issued warrant of arrest to Juan Ponce Enrile, his former aide Gigi Reyes, and others who were allegedly linked in the pork barrel scam.

8.  He allowed the burial of the late strongman in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNBM) or the Heroes' Cemetery

In 2016, a divisive issue that had long been debating about by the pro and anti-Marcos camp has been finally decided by the highest court: the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos. 

In a vote of 9-5 and one abstention, with Martires in 9 who were in favor of the dismissal of the petition filed by anti-Marcos groups and personalities to block the President’s order, Pres. Duterte's request for the late Ilocano president came into fruition.

Along with Martires who voted in favor were Associate Justices Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo D. Brion, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. Del Castillo, Jose P. Perez, Jose C. Mendoza, and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.

While those who voted against were the then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, Francis H. Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa.

The justice who abstained was Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes.

9. He was appointed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as a Supreme Court Justice

In March 8 of 2017, he was appointed as the new Supreme Court Associate Justice replacing the then-retiring Supreme Court Justice Jose Perez. He was the president's first appointee to the High Tribunal.

10. He voted for Sen. Leila De Lima's continued detention

Back in October of 2017, with the vote of 9-6, with Martires included on the 9 who were in favor of her detention, the beleaguered senator Leila De Lima remained in jail.

11. He voted in Sereno’s ouster

In one of the most historical events that transpired in the early part of this year, Justice Martires voted for the ousting of his former Chief Justice, atty. Maria Lourdes Sereno.

It can be recalled that the Sereno-Duterte rift seemed like a fight of the century as it was the first time that the country saw the two of the highest leaders of the land in an exchange of tirades.

The Sereno expulsion made history as it was also the first time that a Chief Justice has been voted to be removed by the majority of his very own colleagues.
Photo from Rappler
Sources: Inquirer Philstar Rappler MSN ABS-CBN Manila Standard