CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno is throwing the gauntlet at Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza in favor of her preferred candidate—Commission on Audit Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan—for a vacant post in the Supreme Court (SC), according to an unimpeachable source of The Manila Times.
Sereno’s latest “scheme” to ‘weaken” Jardeleza’s chances, according to the source, involves requiring the Solicitor General to answer administrative charges raised against him when he was Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon a few years back.
She told Jardeleza to reply to the charges not later than June 30, the day that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will vote from its shortlist for the SC seat previously occupied by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who retired on May 22.
The Solicitor General was the only candidate who had been asked by the JBC to appear for another interview with the council in executive session because supposedly sensitive matters shall be discussed with Jardeleza.
The Times source said Sereno may raise the issue of “immorality” against Jardeleza to ensure the Solicitor General’s disqualification from the race for Abad’s vacant post. He cited the Chief Justice’s earlier using the “integrity” card against all candidates vying for the SC post by automatically disqualifying an aspirant for no reason at all.
The source said Sereno’s first “scheme” against Jardeleza was when she told SC justices that there will no longer be any voting on the candidates for the Associate Justice seat vacated by Abad.
The Chief Justice said she based her decision on the request of “several justices,” an “untruth,” according to the SC justices.
Jardeleza and Tan are allies of Malacanang and close to the President. Jardeleza is perceived as Sereno’s “enemy” because he belongs to a rival group at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Jardeleza was with the bloc of UP Dean Danilo Concepcion and Harry Roque and Sereno, with that of former UP Dean and now SC Justice Marvic Leonen.