MALACAÑANG has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to include Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza in the shortlist of candidates for the post vacated by Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
The JBC, headed by Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, weeks ago submitted four names to Malacañang: Court of Appeals Justices Jose Reyes and Apolinario Bruselas, Commission on Audit chief Gracia Pulido-Tan and Quezon City Judge Rogelio Daway.
Although Jardeleza garnered a majority vote, his name was not included in the shortlist submitted by the JBC to the Palace.
In a five-page comment submitted to the SC on August 8, 2014, the executive department pleaded that Jardeleza’s name be included in the list of candidates.
The comment was filed in behalf of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and was signed by Michael Aguinaldo, deputy executive secretary for legal affairs.
Malacanang particularly assailed Section 2, Rule 10 of the Internal Rules of the JBC that was invoked by Sereno in blocking Jardeleza’s nomination.
It said the Chief Justice violated Jardeleza’s right to due process when she disqualified him without giving him a chance to rebut her allegations about his integrity.
The petition pointed out that the questioned section and the rule invoked by Sereno appeared to impair the collegial character of the JBC.
“Being a collegial body, the JBC acts on the basis of majority rule, as provided in Section1, 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,” it said.
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that, in the event Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 is declared unconstitutional or invalid, or the court invocation of the rule is held to be improper, we pray this Honorable Court to declare petitioner Francis H. Jardeleza deemed included in the shortlist of nominees for [the post vacated by]Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad,” the petition read.
Sereno and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the main oppositors to the nomination of Jardeleza, will inhibit themselves in deliberations on Jardeleza’s petition on Tuesday.
In his petition for certiorari and mandamus with application for a temporary restraining order, Jardeleza said Sereno and the JBC acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they excluded him from the list of candidates.