SOLICITOR General Francis Jardeleza will confront Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) today over reports that the chief magistrate is attempting to ease him out from the list of nominees for a seat at the Supreme Court.
A source said Jardeleza will ask the JBC to open the deliberations on his case to the public for transparency. Sources had said that Sereno questioned Jardeleza’s nomination to the post vacated by Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
Jardeleza will use the news reports that came out at The Manila Times as evidence that Sereno wants to oust him from the list of nominees so that her bet—Commission on Audit chief Grace Pulido-Tan—will have a better chance at landing the SC post.
In his 10-page letter-petition to the Supreme Court en banc, the solicitor general said The Manila Times published three front-page stories exposing the plan of Sereno to railroad his nomination.
He included in his letter clippings of the news reports.
“On June 18, 2014, The Manila Times, in a front-page article entitled “High Court Justices’ powers clipped” by Senior Reporter Jomar Canlas, reported that the Chief Justice, in a letter dated May 29, 2014, represented to the Supreme Court that “several justices” requested that they do away with the Supreme Court voting on its recommendations for a shortlist as mandated by Section 1, Rule 8 of the JBC 009. The Manila Times reported that “at least five magistrates reacted strongly to Sereno’s letter, saying that they wanted to exercise their voting rights in choosing a new member of the tribunal. The same news article also stated that the Chief Justice has a candidate for the nomination,” Jardeleza said in his letter.
“Notably, the Chief Justice has not, to date, publicly denied the veracity of the said news articles,” he added.
Sources said Sereno questioned Jardeleza’s nomination based on moral integrity.
But the solicitor general noted that the charges filed against him by Antonio Baltazar arising from his official acts as Chairman of the Internal Affairs Board of the Office of the Ombudsman had already been dismissed.
The JBC is expected to vote for the shortlist of nominees for Abad’s replacement today.