By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday confirmed that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III got disqualified by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) as a candidate vying for the position as the next Ombudsman.
Guevarra, who is an ex officio member of the JBC, explained Bello got disqualified due to pending syndicated estafa cases filed against him before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
On the other hand, the Secretary declined to give any more details about the cases currently under preliminary investigation at the DOJ.
“Let’s not go into the details. It’s enough to say that the pendency of these criminal cases (under preliminary investigation) directly caused Sec. Bello’s disqualification,” he told reporters.
The JBC is tasked under the Constitution to screen applicants for judiciary positions.
Meanwhile, the JBC on Friday released its shortlist from which President Rodrigo Duterte can make his pick.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales will vacate her post once her seven-year term ends this July 26.
Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires leads the list after getting six votes from members of the JBC.
The shorlist also includes former Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and incumbent Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval who got five votes and lawyer Felito Ramirez who received four votes.