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Even Roque is clueless on why Duterte doesn’t want another woman as Ombudsman

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque admitted Thursday that he too was puzzled by President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s statement that she does not want another woman as the next Ombudsman.

“Gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician. Lalo na hindi babae (I want someone who is respected for integrity, could not be a politician, especially not a woman),” Duterte was quoted to have told reporters in Malacañang on Wednesday night.

Duterte’s comment drew criticisms from women’s group, describing it as anti-woman and sexist.

The President was referring to qualifications for the next Ombudsman as the incumbent, Conchita Carpio-Morales, who was set to retire on July 26.

“Nasa JBC po ‘yan (It’s up to the JBC). As I said, ang Ombudsman po is also covered by the JBC so the JBC will have to submit a shortlist of candidates for the position at ‘yun po ang pagpipilian ng ating Presidente (and that’s how the President will choose),” he said.

Personally, Roque said Duterte probably did not mean to discriminate women being in top government positions.

“Hindi naman po siguro discrimination ‘yan, pero as I said, tatanungin ko po kung ano ang intensiyon ni Presidente, kung talagang sinabi niya ‘yun (I don’t think it’s discrimination but as I said, I’ll ask the President what his intention was when he said that),” he said.

Roque said the context of Duterte’s statement had nothing to do with the qualifications for the next Ombudsman but the President’s preference to forego recommendations from Carpio-Morales for her successor.

On Wednesday night, Duterte said that he would consult “everybody” at the Office of the Ombudsman in selecting its next head.

“I’ll have to consult everybody. I will even have to consult the Ombudsman people, not Morales,” Duterte said.

”Yung konteksto ng pagkakarinig ko, ‘tatanungin ko sa Ombudsman pero hindi doon sa babae, hindi kay Conchita Morales (The context of what I’ve heard is ‘I’ll ask the Ombudsman but I won’t ask the woman, I won’t ask Conchita Morales),” Roque said.

“So yung pagkakaintindi ko, hindi niya lang tatanungin si Conchita Morales kung sino ang gusto niyang pumalit asOmbudsman. It had nothing to do with kung anong gusto niyang qualifications (So what I understood is that he won’t ask Conchita Morales who she would want to replace her as Ombudsman. It had nothing to do with the qualifications he wanted),” he added.

The relationship between Duterte and Carpio-Morales reportedly turned sour after the Office of the Ombudsman opened an investigation into alleged ill-gotten wealth against the President and his family.

Morales, however, inhibited from the case since her nephew, lawyer Manases Carpio, is married to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the President’s daughter. (PNA)