MANILA - The Supreme Court has directed the Palace, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to answer a petition filed by government lawyer, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, that seeks to have his name included on the shortlist for a new magistrate.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said the high court gave the respondents 10 days within which to comment on Jardeleza’s petition seeking to stop Malacanang from appointing the replacement of retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
Jardeleza garnered enough votes, except that 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 right to due process when it gave way to Sereno’s objection even without informing him of the nature and basis of her objection.
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.
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.
Asked if Sereno will need to file her comment, Te said, “the CJ (Chief Justice) will comment through the JBC comment.”
Shortlisted by the JBC 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.