In their ninth guideline, the Philippine Jesuits offer what is in effect a social To Do list. One item on that list is the monitoring of "appointments to public office by the President." Even before the guidelines came out, of course, some groups have been doing just that. The Black and White Movement, for instance, has been keeping a close eye on the vetting process for the new ombudsman.
In a sense, no appointment could be more important than Simeon Marcelo’s replacement. The country needs another Aniano Desierto, the compliant, complacent graftbuster-in-chief appointed by President Fidel Ramos, like it needs another hole in the head. (Once, I had the opportunity to ask Desierto what his conviction rate was. His answer: It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we’ve filed the cases. That explains why his conviction rate, for his seven-year term, was an estimated 6 percent. If I remember correctly, Marcelo more than doubled that rate within months of assuming one of the most powerful offices provided for by the Constitution.)
The Judicial and Bar Council is considering ten nominees. I don’t know, but only Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio seems to have the cojones the job description requires.