BECAUSE of the continuing fight of Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza to be included in the list of nominees for a seat at the Supreme Court (SC), Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and Senior Justice Arturo Brion exchanged harsh words inside the en banc deliberation room last week.
A source said when the SC justices tackled the case of Jardeleza on Tuesday, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio immediately stood up and left the room since he had recused himself from the case. Carpio and Sereno blocked Jardeleza’s inclusion in the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC.)
The Chief Justice also inhibited herself from the case, but instead of leaving the room, she stayed inside and argued her case with the justices, angering Brion.
After several minutes of animated discussions, Brion asked Sereno to leave the room.
An unimpeachable source told The Manila Times that Sereno earned the ire of Brion because of her insistence to join in the deliberations on Jardeleza’s petition, even as decorum dictated that she should have left since she opposed Jardeleza’s nomination.
The Chief Justice told her fellow justices that Jardeleza was not deprived of due process and that it is within the powers of the JBC to disqualify him on questions of integrity.
This reportedly irked Brion, who shouted at the Chief Justice and asked her to leave and not discuss her case with them.
Apparently aware that she could have committed a serious breach of court conduct, Sereno eventually left but not after another exchange of words with Brion.
This was the second time that Brion and Sereno clashed publicly.
The first time was during their deliberations on a party-list case in Baguio City when Sereno “meddled” despite being a dissenter in the case.
In that incident, Brion slammed the records of the case in front of the Chief Justice.
Jardeleza questioned the JBC’s decision to exclude him from the list of nominees for the post vacated by Associate Justice Roberto Abad.
He urged the High Court to direct the JBC to include him in the shortlist.
The JBC, headed by Sereno, submitted four names from the shortlist sent to Malacañang—Court of Appeals Justices Jose Reyes and Apolinario Bruselas, Commission on Audit chief Gracia Pulido-Tan and Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Rogelio Daway.