Palace wants SolGen in shortlist for SC nominees

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is asking the Supreme Court (SC) to include the government's top lawyer in the list of nominees for the last spot in the 15-member tribunal.

In a five-page comment, Malacañang said that Section 2, Rule 10 of the Internal Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which was used by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to block the nomination of Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, is unconstitutional.

"Being a collegial body, the JBC acts on the basis of majority rule, as provided in Section 1, Rule 10 of JBC-009. On the other hand, Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 required that when the integrity of an applicant is challenged, the affirmative vote of all the members of the council must be obtained for the favorable consideration of his nomination," Deputy Executive Secretary for Legislative Affairs Michael Aguinaldo said.

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The Palace also slammed Sereno, an Aquino appointee, for violating Jardeleza's right to due process, as he was not given a chance to answer the chief magistrate's reservations against his integrity.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also opposed Jardeleza's nomination, reportedly because of the government's issue with China over the West Philippine Sea.

Jardeleza got four votes for inclusion from the screening body JBC, along with Quezon City Judge Reynaldo Daway but his name was not submitted to the Office of the President due to Sereno's opposition.

In his petition, the solicitor general said Aquino should be barred from naming the replacement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who retired on May 22, because his constitutional power to appoint has been impaired by the JBC's decision to recommend only four instead of five nominees.

"This is tantamount to forcing the President to appoint a member of the Supreme Court from a list generated through a process that is tainted with a patent violation of the Constitution and a reckless disregard for the fundamental rules of justice and fair play," the petition stated.

Court of Appeals Justices Apolinario Bruselas Jr. and Jose Reyes Jr. and Commission on Audit Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan also made it to the shortlist from which the next magistrate will be chosen on or before August 22. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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