MANILA (UPDATED) - Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the predecessor of Chief Justice Renato Corona, has been nominated for the post of Ombudsman but he reportedly declined the nomination.
Puno, chief magistrate from December 7, 2006 up to May 17, 2010, was nominated by a certain Suzette Curioso-Pangan of the Station Church Site group.
Puno reportedly declined the nomination since has has already made commitments to certain projects.
The Rules of the JBC state that a nominee must formally accept his endorsement for it to be given due course.
Another Supreme Court magistrate - this time a sitting one - Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, was also nominated to replace resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez at least 3 times: first by Judge Dolores Espanol; then by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alex Quiroz; and by her colleagues at the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal(HRET), which she heads, in a resolution dated May 12, 2011 signed by its members: Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Rep. Franklin Bautista.
ABS-CBN News has yet to receive word whether Morales accepted her nomination.
At least 25 individuals have either applied or were nominated to the post, including Over-all Deputy Ombudsman and Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro; Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol; Court of Appeals (CA) Executive Judge for the Visayas Portia Alino-Hormachuelos; De La Salle University College of Law Dean Manuel Diokno; former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez; Ombudsman Prosecutor Wilbert Candelaria; Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Amelia Infante; former Ambassador Roy Señeres; and, lawyers Ernesto Francisco, Arno Sanidad, Harry Roque, Francis Jardeleza, Marlon Manuel, Alfredo Agawa, Pedro Aquino, Hubert Guevarra and Florencio Villarin.
The JBC, chaired by Chief Justice Corona, gave candidates and endorsers up to today, May 16, to submit applications and/or nominations.
The names of qualified candidates will be published in a news daily of general circulation. Qualified candidates will undergo public interviews.
The JBC will submit a shortlist of those most fit for the post to President Benigno Aquino III who shall then choose the next Ombudsman from the shortlist. A new Ombudsman must be appointed within 90 days from the day of vacancy which was last May 6.