MANILA - Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza has urged the Supreme Court (SC) to disallow Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from casting her vote for the lone vacancy at the high tribunal following the retirement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
He alleged that Sereno had violated his right to due process as well as the rules of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in raising "accusations against [his] integrity" as an applicant.
In his petition, Jardeleza invoked the high court's intervention in the exercise of its supervisory function over the JBC "and correct the violations of law committed by Chief Justice Sereno."
Jardeleza said Sereno's issues about his integrity were not raised during the appropriate period, which was during his public interview.
He added that challenges or oppositions to a nomination must be in the form of a complaint under oath supported by evidence, and thereafter, the applicant should be confronted with this complaint during the public interview.
"Chief Justice Sereno, even if she is Chief Justice, should not be allowed to be both my prosecutor and judge... aside from violating the council's own rules, she has, by acting as both my accuser and prosecutor, also given up any legal or moral right to vote and pass judgment on my qualifications," Jardeleza said.
Jardeleza said Sereno's move to have him summoned before the JBC on June 30 to confront him of her "accusations" is out of order.
"Furthermore, the Chief Justice's actuations have already caused my reputation and integrity to be besmirched... Unless this honorable court intervenes and exercises its constitutional power and duty of supervision over the council, Chief Justice Sereno, who wields tremendous power and influence as its ex officio chairman, is set to disqualify me from being nominated," Jardeleza said.
Sereno's issues against Jardeleza were not mentioned in the petition, as these would be bared only to Jardeleza during the June 30 hearing by Sereno, according to the petition.