New Ombudsman to summon Duterte's ex-lawyer over corruption claims

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2018 12:21 PM

Newly appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires visits the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on July 27, 2018. Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Newly appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires said Monday he would summon President Rodrigo Duterte's former lawyer Edna Batacan over her allegations of corruption in the anti-graft body.

Batacan, in her interview with the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), said she was a victim of corruption while serving as a lawyer for the Office of the Ombudsman, which she described as corruption-ridden.

"I will be demanding, not requesting, from Atty. Edna Batacan for her to identify the officer or employee na nabigyan niya ng pera na sab niya as 'parking fee,'” Martires told reporters Monday.

Batacan, who was President Rodrigo Duterte's counsel against graft allegations when he was Davao City mayor, was among the applicants for the Ombudsman post which was vacated by Conchita Carpio Morales last week.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio earlier lodged a complaint against Batacan before the JBC for allegedly asking for P80 million from a mutual client to pay the ombudsman in exchange for a case dismissal.

Asked about possible charges against Batacan, Martires responded: "I don’t want to go into that at the moment. I just want her to cooperate with us."

Martires who was named Ombudsman last week, vowed to immediately resolve cases and address inordinate delays.

"My priorities will be the pending cases, the issue on inordinate delay which has been an issue that has been haunting the Sandiganbayan as well as the Supreme Court. I will immediately look into that and the causes for the delay," he told reporters during his last flag raising ceremony as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Monday.

He is expected to formally assume his new post as the country’s top graft-buster on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court en banc tackles his early retirement in Tuesday’s en banc session.