Lawyer: Statements of justices against Sereno ‘colored by personal sentiments’
The administrative issues raised by Supreme Court (SC) justices against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House hearing on Monday were pointless, according to Sereno’s lawyers.
Sereno’s camp on Tuesday said it did not see any “bombshells” but “personal opinions” in the statements of Associate Justices Teresita de Castro, Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza, and former Associate Justice Arturo Brion.
“It is unfortunate that their perspectives were colored by their personal sentiments,” lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We do not see the point of raising these issues again,” Lacanilao stressed. “That’s all water under the bridge. Justice Jardeleza was appointed by President Aquino. The SC en banc resolved to grant Secretary Aguirre’s request.”
Sereno’s camp addressed the accusation of Brion and Jardeleza that the Chief Justice used a top secret document to block the appointment of Jardeleza to the Sc by then President Benigno Aquino III.
The document was the Philippines’ memorandum filed with the arbitral tribunal in the case against China over the West Philippine Sea dispute.
Lacanilao said it was Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who raised Jardeleza’s act of removing Itu Aba, an island in the disputed Spratly group of islands, from the memorandum.
Jardeleza, believing that Itu Aba is not an island but a rock, wanted it out of the memorandum despite its inclusion in the document, according to Lacanilao.
“History proved Jardeleza wrong,” Lacanilao said. “Had the tribunal not ruled on this, Itu Aba would be the basis of China to encroach into Philippine territory.”
“That is why when Jardeleza deleted the Itu Aba portion in the memorandum submitted by the Philippines to the United Nations that sought to challenge China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea, he undermined the country’s legal claim and territorial integrity,” he added.
Lacanilao branded Jardeleza’s accusation against Sereno of committing treason as “absurd.”
Sereno’s camp said that Jardeleza was eventually included in the shortlist and appointed to the SC.
“The Chief Justice did not commit treason,” Lacanilao said. “What constitutes acts of treason are defined in the Revised Penal Code, and none of the actions of the Chief Justice, as alleged by Justice Jardeleza, fall under these acts. When Senior Justice Carpio brought to her attention the Itu Aba case, as member of the JBC, she was duty bound to raise the matter and she did.” /atm
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