MANILA Retired Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires took his oath as the new Ombudsman before Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio at the High Court's session hall on Monday.
Martires, accompanied by his wife Cecilia, said he will prioritize the resolution of pending cases, address inordinate delays, and probe alleged corruption at the anti-graft office.
The newly-appointed Ombudsman said he will issue office orders late Monday afternoon after meeting with his subordinates at the anti-graft office.
Martires has filed for an early retirement, which was granted by the High Court's en banc after he was chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte to replace Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales - whose term ended on July 26.
He bested two other candidates for the Ombudsman post former Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and now Ombudsman Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval and private practitioner Felito Ramirez.
Martires is Duterte's first appointee to the SC, having signed his papers on March 2, 2017.
He was supposed to retire from the High Court on Jan. 2, 2019 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.
He served as a trial judge in Agoo, La Union prior to his appointment as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2005.
Martires finished law at San Beda College, also Duterte's alma mater.
Carandang can appeal dismissal order
The country's new top graft buster, meanwhile, said Overall Deputy Ombudsman (ODO) Arthur Carandang can still appeal MalacaAang's dismissal order against him.
I think ODO Carandang still has 15 days to file his Motion for Reconsideration. I have to wait for that until such time that MalacaAang denies that Motion for Reconsideration, shall I cross the bridge. I don't think there's anything for me. I don't think I don't have any discretion with respect to that, because once ODO Carandang goes to the Court of Appeals, I think he knows that immediately he has to leave the office.
I think ODO Carandang, as a lawyer, knows the consequences of going to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The provisions on (administrative) cases are very clear, that it is immediately executory. As a lawyer, ODO Carandang knows what he has to do, he told reporters.
Martires said he can only implement the dismissal order against Carandang once his appeal is denied by the Palace.
I have no choice, but it will depend on ODO. I don't think he's that hard-headed, I see him as a very reasonable guy, I knew him since I was in the Sandiganbayan, I think ODO Carandang will just follow what the law provides.
Also on Monday, SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco attended his last flag-raising ceremony at the High Court.
Velasco is set to retire from the judiciary on Wednesday. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency