MANILA - A former solicitor general believes the threat to sue officials of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for recommending then-applicant Maria Lourdes Sereno for the chief justice post is "nonsense."
Speaking to ANC Wednesday, lawyer Florin Hilbay said the JBC, as a constitutional body, can adjust their own requirements. He insists that Sereno is constitutionally qualified for the position.
"That’s nonsense. The JBC is a constitutional body, they can adjust their own requirements. That’s within their prerogative. Their power to recommend is based on the Constitution," he said.
"Had they recommended someone who is not constitutionally qualified—someone who is not a natural-born citizen, not 40 years of age, not 15 years in practice—then perhaps, you can open them to liability," he added.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice, threatened to sue JBC officials for recommending Sereno for the post despite failure to file some of her SALN.
The Office of the Solicitor General has recently filed before the high court a quo warranto petition questioning the validity of the appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice.
The basis of the petition is Sereno's failure to file her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth for a 17-year period. The JBC granted Sereno's request to waive these SALN documents.
Hilbay believes that ruling in favor of petition will mean that appointment or election of any official can be questioned based on failure to comply with a non-constitutional requirements.