Sereno defers voting on psych test result disclosure-A A +A
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno blocked Tuesday the senior magistrates’ move to grant Associate Justice Arturo Brion’s request to compel the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to disclose results of psychiatric and psychological examinations taken by nominees for her post.
Sereno deferred the voting until the next en banc session and after she has discussed the matter with members of the JBC in their next meeting on Monday.
In Tuesday’s en banc session, senior justices were ready to take a vote to grant Brion’s letter, which was filed before the en banc after his request for a copy of the JBC’s report on the psychiatric and psychological tests of Chief Justice aspirants was denied by the eight-member panel.
The en banc cited the confidential nature of the exams in denying Brion’s request.
But a court source said Brion argued that since the JBC report had already been leaked to the media, there is no longer any point in keeping his psychiatric records a secret from him.
The leaked report showed that Brion got a grade of “3,” which means that his test result was just “satisfactory.”
“Everybody knows already (the result of) my psychiatric test, except me,” the source quoted Brion as saying.
The justices seconded Brion’s request to release the JBC report, saying the result of the psychiatric exams is imbued with public interest.
Among those who supported Brion’s bid were Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Roberto Abad, Lucas Bersamin and Martin Villarama.
Sereno told her colleagues at the Supreme Court, however, that while she is sitting as ex-officio JBC chair, the panel is a collegial body and she has to consult her peers.
Sereno’s appointment to the top judicial post became controversial amid the leakage of the JBC report showing that she obtained failing marks in the psychiatric and psychological exams, one of the considerations supposedly taken up by the JBC before short-listing nominees.
On the day of her appointment as Chief Justice, Sereno was reported in a newspaper as having failed her exams after getting the lowest rating of “4” in the five-point numerical rating system, citing an 11-page psychiatric and psychological report of experts to the JBC.
Aside from Sereno, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, another Palace candidate, obtained “4.” Like Sereno, Jardeleza was also shortlisted for the Chief Justice post.
Under the supposed rating system used by psychologists and psychiatrists tapped by the JBC to conduct the exams, the rating of “1” is the highest or most superior, while “3” is the median; “5” is the lowest or a failing mark. Having the grade of “4” means the mental state of the taker is “not satisfactory.”
The JBC already announced that it will investigate the leakage of the exam results. (ECV/Sunnex)