Lawyers: Sereno ‘acted in good faith’ in Jardeleza exclusion from JBC shortlist
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the chief magistrate “acted in good faith” when the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which she chaired, excluded then Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza in the shortlist of candidates for Supreme Court associate justices in 2014.
“The Chief Justice, as ex officio Chairperson of the JBC, acted in good faith and in accordance with the JBC Rules in the matter of the nomination and subsequent appointment to the Supreme Court of then Solicitor General Jardeleza,” Sereno’s lawyers said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.
The House justice committee is currently on its seventh day of conducting hearings to determine the probable cause in the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
Four justices – SC Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Francis Jardeleza, Teresita de Castro, and retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion – faced the panel to shed light on some of the allegations against the chief magistrate.
Jardeleza, Brion and De Castro said Sereno “manipulated” the shortlist to ease out Jardeleza after she questioned his moral fitness and accused him of engaging into insider trading.
“The exclusion of then Solicitor General Jardeleza from the list was not because the Chief Justice supposedly ‘manipulated’ the list,” the lawyers said.
They said Sereno did not act with malice.
“She was merely performing her duty as a member of the JBC to register her good faith opposition to the nomination of then Solicitor General Jardeleza, after receiving and painstakingly verifying reports on his stand in the West Philippine Sea arbitration between the Philippines and China,” the lawyers added. “These reports had given her reasonable grounds to doubt his integrity and moral fitness to become a member of the highest court of the land.” /atm
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