MANILA – Left-wing militant group Bagong Alyangsang Makabayan (Bayan) believes that the decision of President Aquino to name Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza as new Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice is part of his ''war'' against the high court.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said Jardeleza, as chief government lawyer, played a role in the administration's defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared as unconstitutional by the SC.
President Aquino did not hide his disappointment after parts of the DAP were struck down. He insisted that DAP-funded projects were done in good faith and had a positive effect on the economy.
''It seems the Jardeleza appointment is still in line with Aquino's war with the SC if in the aftermath of the DAP ruling. Aquino is sending a message to the court that he can override processes such as that of the JBC,'' Reyes said in a statement.
Jardeleza's appointment was announced Wednesday, August 20, the deadline for Aquino to pick a new SC justice that will take over the post of retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
Jardeleza was initially removed from the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) after Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, as ex-officio chairman of the JBC, objected to his nomination due to integrity issues.
Jardeleza slammed his removal from the shortlist, saying the JBC violated his rights to due process when it gave way to Sereno’s objection even without informing him of the nature and basis of the accusation raised against him.
The Palace then backed the petition filed by Jardeleza, saying the latter should have been included in the shortlist.
Reyes criticized the Palace for backing Jardeleza.
''We can't remember the last time a president exerted this much effort to get someone appointed to the Supreme Court,'' he said.
''Justice Jardeleza now owes Aquino big time. It was Aquino who exerted extraordinary effort to delay the appointment of a new SC justice until Jardeleza was included in the JBC shortlist. It was Aquino who went against the JBC in an obvious power play vs the SC. So Jardeleza's independence would naturally be questionable at this point."
The SC has yet to decide on the motion for reconsideration filed by the government regarding the DAP.