SC associate justice offered Ombudsman post: sources

By Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2011 10:04 PM | Updated as of May 03 2011 06:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales has reportedly been offered the position of Ombudsman, replacing Merceditas Gutierrez.

Carpio-Morales has been with the Supreme Court since 2002, but it was only in June last year that she became a familiar face and name, when President Benigno Aquino III picked her to swear him into office. 

The Palace, however, neither confirms nor denies the reported offer, even as the President described the qualities that he is looking for in the next Ombudsman.

"Siyempre yung dedicated, yung may paninindigan, may tapang, may dunong na para maisulong itong mga kaso dahil sa dulo, pag may nagkasala sa ating taumbayan, di ba yun naman ang inaambisyon natin, iyung magkaroon ng katiyakan ang kaparusahan," Aquino said.

A 2008 analysis by Newsbreak that was published by abs-cbnNEWS.com showed an almost even voting pattern by Carpio-Morales on politically-significant cases involving the Arroyo administration. 

She voted in favor of 10 cases, while voted against 11 others. 

However, even if Malacañang is dead-set on Carpio-Morales as Ombudsman, the Palace would have to wait until she retires on June 19. 

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), meanwhile, has decided to wait for official notice from the Office of the President on the Ombudsman vacancy.

Gutierrez's resignation is effective May 6.

Senate justice committee chair and JBC member Chiz Escudero said upon receipt of the notice from the Palace, the council will automatically send out public announcements inviting applications and nominations for the position.