SolGen to SC: Stop Sereno from voting on new justice

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


SOLICITOR General Francis Jardeleza asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday not to allow Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to participate in next week’s voting on the shortlist of nominees for the vacant post in the high tribunal.

Jardeleza, the government’s top lawyer, said his right to due process would be violated if Sereno succeeds in raising her issues against his candidacy at the meeting of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on June 30.

Sereno reportedly objected to Jardeleza’s nomination on grounds of “integrity” in a couple of meetings with the JBC.

Separately, a Manila Times report on Tuesday said Jardeleza has been summoned by Sereno to answer charges raised against him when he was Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon a few years back and issue of immorality.

“Accusations against my integrity were made twice, without informing me of the nature and cause of the accusations against me and without giving me an opportunity to be heard,” Jardeleza said.

He added the chief justice is acting like a “prosecutor and a judge” even if JBC rules do not grant a member of the council “peremptory powers to deny an applicant a nomination” without going through a transparent process of presenting evidence.

“A challenge to an applicant’s integrity must be based on the evidence on record that is created by the foregoing public process. In other words, a Council member cannot raise grounds for opposition not previously brought to the Council’s attention and part of its public record,” he said.

Jardeleza said Sereno’s reservations against him could have been addressed by advising her informants to formally manifest their opposition or to convince the JBC to conduct a discreet investigation into the information provided.

"Chief Justice Sereno willfully omitted to do any of the above. She did not participate during my public interview. Instead, she sprang her accusations against me ex parte before the Council at the time of the scheduled voting on June 5, 2014, and again on June 16, 2014," he said.

Aside from barring Sereno from participating in the JBC meeting, Jardeleza asked the SC to order the council to notify him of the charges five days before the hearing of the complaint, allow him to cross-examine his oppositor and supporting witnesses in public and postpone the voting to a date not earlier than July 10.

Jardeleza is one of the 13 nominees vying to succeed retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad.

His fellow candidates include eight justices of the Court of Appeals (CA), a Quezon City judge and two officials of the Commission on Audit (COA) including Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan. (Sunnex)

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