Jardeleza asks SC to stop Palace from choosing new justice

Posted at 07/20/14 4:04 PM

MANILA -- Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza asked the Supreme Court to stop for now Malacanang from choosing a replacement for retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad.

Jardeleza said he still has a pending petition seeking to compel the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to include his name on the shortlist.

Jardeleza garnered enough votes, except that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, as ex-officio chairman of the JBC, invoked rule 10, section 2 of the JBC rules.

Under that provision, “when the integrity of an applicant who is not otherwise disqualified for nomination is raised or challenged, the affirmative vote of all the members of the Council must be obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination.”

Jardeleza said the JBC, which chooses names for the judiciary, violated his rights to due process when it gave way to Sereno’s objection even without informing him of the nature and basis.

He said Sereno’s objections should have been raised during his public interview, adding that he was only informed of these later on, when the JBC was about to vote on the shortlist.

“The filing of charges against petitioner and allowance of reasonable opportunity for him to answer said charges constitute the minimum requirements of due process. Petitioner was left with the monumental task of divining the accusations against him, an undertaking made even more difficult by the fact that the identities of his accusers were unknown. Given how little information he had, petitioner could not have been able to mount a meaningful defense,” Jardeleza said.

He said Sereno “gravely abused” her position since she stood as prosecutor, witness and judge against him.

“This malicious and unfair arrangement, exhibited at various stages of the proceedings violates the very essence of fair play, and amount to a violation of the Constitution,” Jardeleza said.

Shortlisted were: Court of Appeals Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Jose Reyes Jr., who both got six votes; Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Gracia Pulido-Tan, who got five votes; and Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Judge Reynaldo Daway, who got four votes.

Jardeleza also got four votes.