SolGen wants fairness in SC post bid

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Monday, June 30, 2014


(UPDATED) A CANDIDATE for the last seat in the Supreme Court (SC) asked the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to postpone its voting on Monday on the shortlist of applicants to be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III.

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said it would be prudent for the JBC to wait for the SC's action on Tuesday on his petition to stop Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who raised questions about his integrity, from taking part in the voting.

Jardeleza scored Sereno for being his accuser and judge, adding the accusations against his integrity were made without informing him of the nature of the charges and without giving him the opportunity to rebut them in public.

He said Sereno, who acts as JBC chairperson, should not be allowed to take part in the voting since "an accuser cannot be the judge of the truth of her own accusation."?

"I have begged the honorable court en banc to allow me a process no different from the process that the rules of the council afford any other applicant for a judicial position, no more, no less. I ask for no special or preferential treatment," he said.

Sereno grilled Jardeleza for 10 minutes in a closed-door meeting of the JBC.

After the meeting, the government's top lawyer maintained the chief justice ignored JBC rules for insisting on her issue against him even in the absence of evidence priorly brought to the attention of and validated by the screening body under a transparent process.

Sereno did not participate in last month's public interviews of 13 nominees where she could have vetted Jardeleza's fitness for the post vacated by retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad.

Jardeleza said Sereno should have formalized her accusations and the JBC must order him to respond.

"With due respect, the Chief Justice neither supervises my work nor my public or private life. Any information she may have on my work or my life that may relate to my integrity can thus only come from second-hand third parties," he said in a letter to the SC last week.

Jardeleza was nominated once for the position of Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and twice for SC justice post.

He was also one of Sereno's rivals for top magistrate in mid-2012 following the ouster of then Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Senate impeachment court for betrayal of public trust in connection with his alleged misdeclaration of assets. (Sunnex)

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