MANILA, Philippines?The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has decided that the next Ombudsman will sit for seven full years instead of filling up the remaining of the seven year term of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
During today?s meeting, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said the other JBC members agreed with her that what should be followed is Section 8 Paragraph 3 of Republic Act 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989.
Section 8 (3) of the law provides that ?in case of vacancy in the Office of the Ombudsman due to death, resignation, removal or permanent disability of the incumbent Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy shall serve as Acting Ombudsman in a concurrent capacity until a new Ombudsman shall have been appointed for a full term?.?
?The JBC is now waiting for a formal notice from Malacanang saying that the Ombudsman post is officially vacant,? De Lima said. Once there is a formal notice, she told reporters that the JBC will already open applications and nominations for the Ombudsman post.
Gutierrez was appointed in 2005 after then Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo resigned due to health reasons. Gutierrez' seven year term was supposed to end next year.
Gutierrez submitted her resignation to President Benigno Aquino III last Friday saying she does not want to divert the attention of the Senate and Congress from more important issues. Her resignation is effective May 6.
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro will take her post in an acting capacity.