Malacañang justifies screening of Ombudsman bets

Malacañang yesterday justified the screening by President Aquino of the four candidates who will be replacing resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, saying this is well within the power of the appointing authority and in light of the Aug. 4 deadline to appoint a new ombudsman.

“That (vetting) has become a pattern of the President, just like what he did in the vacancy of the Commission on Elections then. He interviewed the candidates, although I don’t really know if he will be doing this again with the ombudsman,” Undersecretary Abigail Valte said.

The deputy presidential spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied that former justice secretary Artemio Tuquero was indeed interviewed Friday last week, although she denied that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa was rooting for him.

“I am not privy to it. I talked to Executive Secretary Ochoa, and of course, there’s no truth to the report that he’s lobbying for the former justice secretary. He told me that there is no truth to that,” Valte told government-run radio dzRB.

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