Palace denies wanting more allies in SC through Sol-Gen
MANILA, Philippines – After asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the inclusion of Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza on the shortlist of candidates for an associate justice post, Malacañang on Monday said it was not an attempt to increase its allies in the high court.
“That’s not a correct way of looking at it,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told a reporter asking if it was meant to “counterbalance the situation in the Supreme Court” amid the alleged conflict between the Executive and Judicial branches of the government.
He said it was normal for a President to appoint a nominee. He added that the Office of the Executive Secretary was merely addressing a contentious issue regarding Jardeleza’s removal from the shortlist.
“The President has not met with any of the nominees yet. So is that an inclination?” Lacierda said during the televised press conference.
He said the Supreme Court will ultimately decide on the matter.
“It just so happens that there’s an issue on—a specific issue that you’re looking at, but… But the President has always maintained that he should appoint someone of probity, integrity, and the descriptions provided in the Constitution,” Lacierda said.
On Monday, Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Aguinaldo sent a five-page comment to the high court, saying Jardeleza’s right to due process was violated when he was dropped from the shortlist despite getting four votes from the panel.
Aguinaldo asked the SC to order the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to again include Jardeleza’s name on the list. He also said the Solicitor General should have also been given the opportunity to explain his side amid Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s opposition of his inclusion as nominee.
The SC and the Executive have allegedly been at odds since the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was declared partly unconstitutional by the high court.
No less than President Benigno Aquino III has assailed the ruling.
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