Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday rejected calls that she inhibit herself from the case involving the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), whose lawyer, Ret. Supreme Court (SC) Justice Florentino Feliciano, stood as a principal sponsor in the wedding of the chief magistrate’s son last month.
Feliciano appeared in the oral arguments at the High Court en banc on Tuesday.
The Manila Times had exposed that the former mentor and law partner of the chief justice stood as one of the seven godfathers of Jose Lorenzo Sereno and Maria Clarissa Bautista who were married in January.
However, according to SC Public Information Office Chief Theodore Te, Sereno will not inhibit herself from the case since no motion has been filed asking the Chief Justice to recuse herself.
“No one has filed a motion to inhibit, so I will not address that. It’s speculative,” Te told reporters.
There is now a legal question whether Sereno violated the Internal Rules of the High Court.
The Internal Rules of the SC, specifically Administrative Matter 10-4-20-SC, provides that she must inhibit herself from a case handled by a former law partner.
The Bayan Muna party-list group is contemplating filing a motion asking Sereno to step out of the case.
Bayan Muna spokesman Renato Reyes told the Times that they are plotting their next move.
The website of the prestigious SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan lawfirm lists Feliciano as a senior counsel.
Feliciano has acted as lawyer for big realty and mining corporations. He appeared before the SC as legal counsel for Oceanagold mining firm on the issue of the constitutionality of the mining law. He also represented Ayala Corporation in a land case before the SC.