Chief govt lawyer to renew battle with Chief Justice

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The Supreme Court (SC) has given Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza another chance to fight Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who had allegedly “railroaded” his nomination to deny him a shot at a vacancy in the tribunal.

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According to a well-placed source of The Manila Times in the High Court, the SC held its regular Tuesday en banc and deliberated on a letter-petition of Jardeleza against Sereno.

The Solicitor General sought Sereno’s inhibition from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) voting on a shortlist for the Associate Justice vacancy on June 25 but the Chief Justice “sat down” on the letter-petition to make the case “moot and academic.”

Instead, Sereno ordered to have the case raffled off on June 30, the day the JBC voted on the shortlist for the replacement of Roberto Abad, who retired last May.

During the Tuesday en banc, Associate Justice Arturo Brion said justice should be served Jardeleza due to Sereno’s “railroading” of the JBC process by clipping the SC en banc of its voting powers for the SC vacancy and Sereno’s invocation of Rule 10 of the council’s internal rules even without formal charges being filed against the Solicitor General.

But SC Justice Marvic Leonen, Sereno’s loyal ally from the University of the Philippines College of Law, rebutted Brion and moved for the Jardeleza case to be considered moot and academic.

It was learned from another source that Jardeleza was the moderator in the UP College of Law when Leonen was asked about his involvement in a “plagiarism” issue.

The controversy caused the ouster of Leonen as UP College of Law dean and for lawyer Danilo Concepcion, a Jardeleza ally, to sit as the new dean.

Jardeleza’s letter-petition will just be “noted” but the Solicitor General will be given a chance to file a new petition to fight back against Sereno.

“Leonen will be the new ponente of the case and the letter-petition of Jardeleza will just be ‘Noted Without Prejudice’ to the filing of a new petition,” the source said.

The source added that it is now up to Jardeleza to file a new petition that would seek the High Court’s order via mandamus for Malacañang to return the shortlist to the JBC.

“It is up for Jardeleza to have his remedies. He can file a new petition in the [SC] against Sereno” the source pointed out.

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