After a long process nuanced by claims for the appointment of a person without political ties, the Senate of the Republic chose Pablo Ulloa as the new Ombudsman, in an extraordinary session in which only the People’s Force (FP) opposed.
Ulloa, who was competing alongside former deputies Henry Merán, a recognized leader of the People’s Force, and Fidel Santana, former president of the Broad Front, is the only one who had no known political ties. Unofficial reports indicate that there was a political agreement between the ruling party and the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) to appoint Ulloa.
The new Ombudsman, for the period 2021-2027, when contacted by telephone by DL, thanked God, his family, society and the political parties represented in the Senate for the appointment.
“For me, above all it is a commitment, whoever is speaking to you is a public servant who will now be in the Ombudsman’s Office. This is a real commitment to society and to my family in socially legitimizing the Ombudsman’s Office, ”he said.
He assured that he has three fundamental objectives when assuming his management: the organizational, the guarantee and the educational one. “In the end, we are going to deliver the institution accessible, efficient and, above all, with a quality organizational character,” he said.
During the session, the Senate plenary session accepted a report presented by the special commission, chaired by Senator Ricardo de los Santos, which designates Roberto Carlos Quiroz as the first alternate and Miguel Antonio Puello as the second alternate. In addition, as first deputy to Ana Leticia Martich Mateo and second deputy to Darío Antonio Nin.
The decision came with 21 votes in favor of an enrollment of 26 senators present.
The Ombudsman, his alternates and deputies will be sworn in next Monday, June 14, at 3 in the afternoon.
Eduardo Estrella, president of the Senate, emphasized that Ulloa’s election was made within the established constitutional deadline. It was about 30 days after receiving the shortlists from the Chamber of Deputies to choose the positions, and that expired this Friday the 11th.
Before the appointments, Senator Dionis Sánchez, spokesman for the FP bloc, presented a dissident report, as a member of the special commission. He proposed choosing Henry Merán as Ombudsman because he understood that he enjoyed extensive professional practice and academic preparation for postgraduate and doctoral degrees on fundamental rights. The senator for Pedernales also suggested keeping the alternates and deputies presented by the special commission.
“Be careful with what we ourselves are giving acquiescence, that we have a political career and that is no reason to question our dignity or our honesty for having been or being political,” Sánchez concluded. He assured that if he had “left his choice” the choice of that position, it would undoubtedly fall on Henry Merán.
Who is Ulloa?
The new Ombudsman has a degree in Industrial Psychology from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and also has a doctorate in Government, Public Policy and Society.
In addition, he holds a master’s degree in Senior Public Management from the Global Democracy and Development Foundation (Funglode) and a postgraduate degree in Industrial Psychology (UASD).
He was trained in Argentina as an expert in the formulation and evaluation of Public Educational Policy; and in Spain he completed several master’s degrees and a doctorate in Government and Public Policy. The master’s degrees, carried out in Spanish universities, deal with Economics and International Cooperation and Public Policies.
His work experience places him as the first administrative and financial director general (executive director) of the Constitutional Court in 2014. He was technical coordinator, in the Office of International Cooperation of the Secretary of State for Education (SEE) and responsible for the Support Program for the Ten-Year Plan in 2011.
He also worked as a monitoring and evaluation specialist in the International Cooperation Office of the Secretary of State for Education (SEE) 2005-2007. It was the Dominican counterpart in the Program to Support the Development of Professional Technical Education (PRO-ETP), funded by the European Union 2002–2003, and participated in the process of detecting training needs to be negotiated in the Treaty of Free Trade, with the United States in 2004.
He has been a manager or consultant for more than eight programs and projects financed by the IDB, WB and the European Union in the Dominican State and internationally.
The evaluations of the applicants began on Tuesday, January 19 in the Chamber of Deputies. The files were purged by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), the National Directorate of Drug Control (DNCD) and the General Directorate of Internal Taxes. It ended 10 days later, with 74 evaluated of the 97 registered.
Due to this process, on March 23, the shortlists were formed based on the scores where Pablo Ulloa appeared with 97.44, Henry Merán 95.94 and Fidel Santana, who obtained the third best score of 88.37.
The proposals were sent to the Senate, which decided to return them to the Chamber of Deputies, arguing non-observance of the law, by submitting three triples with an attachment, when there should only be two. On May 5, the lower house eliminated the third list and forwarded the file to the Senate, which resumed the interviews on May 19.
Ulloa will replace Zoila Martínez Guante, who was appointed in that position by the Legislative Power on May 15, 2013, for a period of six years.
Martínez Guante had repeatedly claimed her wishes to be replaced in office.
Political and social actors spoke out on the matter
“I applaud the election of Ulloa as Ombudsman. His preparation and ability have conquered the hearts of the people, whom he will serve with honesty and neatness. He has the challenge of taking on causes close to the citizens, ”said the former Vice President of the Republic, Margarita Cedeño, while congratulating the management of Zoila Martínez for all these years of work.
For his part, the Executive Vice President of the Institutionality and Justice Foundation (Finjus), Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, welcomed the appointment of Ulloa for the period 2021-2027.
Finjus considers that Ulloa meets the profile of suitability and capabilities required to achieve its objectives, as recognized by the evaluation commission in the Senate of the Republic.
“We hope that, based on their personal gifts, talent and academic training, Pablo Ulloa and his team will lead the Ombudsman’s Office to fulfill the role that the Constitution assigns to it, and Finjus is now at the disposal of his management to support the relaunch of this important institution of our legal system “, they indicated.
Likewise, the Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera, said that Ulloa’s election reiterates the coherent discourse of the Modern Revolutionary Party that Congress elect members of state organizations without partisan ties.
What is the DP for?
In accordance with the Dominican Constitution, the Ombudsman has the function of safeguarding the fundamental rights of individuals and collective interests in the event that they are violated by officials or providers of public or private services that affect collective interests. It will serve as a mediator between the administration and the administered when the administration ignores fundamental rights in its actions.
Law 19-01 gives the DP and its associates the power to inspect public offices and those entities that provide public services without prior notice, and require from them all the documents and information necessary to carry out their work.
The DP can also initiate an investigation into any questionable conduct of a public servant, such as corruption.