MANILA - Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday admitted that he was disappointed after the Judicial and Bar Council disqualified him from the shortlist of candidates for Ombudsman due to pending criminal and administrative cases.
Bello was interviewed by the JBC last month after he applied to become the replacement of retiring Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, but was dropped from the list earlier this week due to a syndicated estafa case.
Under the JBC's rules, an individual with pending cases before any court must be disqualified from being nominated to any judicial post or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman.
"If I had that case, why did you let me go through the process of being interviewed by you? Why did they not confront me about this? They would have found out that that case was filed as early as 2012," Bello told ANC's Headstart.
Government officials did not divulge details of the case against Bello, but the Labor chief said the case alleged that he took part in syndicated estafa while he was still chairman of a board. Bello did not specify which agency's board was involved in the case.
Bello said he presented documents that showed that he was "not a member of the board" as alleged in the case.
Despite being excluded from the shortlist, Bello said he is satisfied with the JBC's other choices.
"As to the choice, hindi siguro [disappointed] kasi in fairness, 'yun namang mga ni-recommend nila okay naman," he said.
The list includes Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires, Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval and lawyer Felito Ramirez.