JBC asks SC to reverse ruling on Jardeleza
MANILA, Philippines—The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to reverse its decision allowing the inclusion of Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza on the shortlist of nominees that led to his appointment.
In a 31-page motion for reconsideration the JBC, which is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, said the high court’s decision has set a “dangerous precedent” when it ordered Jardeleza’s inclusion to the shortlist even if it was already submitted to President Benigno Aquino III.
“The majority decision resulted in judicial overreach by altering the shortlist… The Constitution gave JBC sole discretion to determine presidential recommendees to the judiciary,” the JBC through its executive officer lawyer Analiza Ty-Capacite said.
While the JBC conceded that the high court has administrative supervision over it, such control “does not include power to overturn a decision and to order a review or change of its rules.”
The seven-member body, which is constitutionally mandated to screen aspirants to the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman, also cited a repercussion on the ruling, where the high court dismissed its assessment of the integrity issues against Jardeleza as mere difference in legal strategy or exercise of professional judgment.
“The honorable court inadvertently shifted the onus of proving one’s integrity from the applicant to that of the JBC,” it lamented.
The JBC likewise insisted that there was no violation of Jardeleza’s right to due process, contrary to the finding of the high court.
It reiterated that the petitioner was sufficiently informed of the objections against him and that he was also given opportunity to answer them.
The council told the high tribunal that its members only wanted Jardeleza to elaborate on his defense in asking him to appear before their deliberations and voting last June 30 “but he refused to do so.”
Jardeleza is the 173rd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Jardeleza almost did not made it after the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) last June submitted the shortlist of candidates to replace Associate Justice Roberto Abad who retired last May 22 despite getting the required number of votes. Sereno opposed his appointment due to questions on his integrity.
Jardeleza took his case to the Supreme Court and asked that it compel the JBC to include him on the shortlist. The high court has supervision over the JBC chaired by Sereno. Malacañang supported Jardeleza’s bid and filed a comment with the high court.
Seven justices voted in favor of Jardeleza’s inclusion to the shortlist.
A day later, his appointment was announced.
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