Jardeleza lashes out at 2 SC colleagues | Inquirer News

Jardeleza lashes out at 2 SC colleagues

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 05:32 AM July 01, 2015

Speaking at the University of the Philippines College of Law graduation rites on Monday, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza blasted the chief justice of the Supreme Court and another senior magistrate for hurling “vicious untruths” at him during his nomination to the tribunal last year, and for criminal violation of State secrecy laws.

In remarks that traced his journey from a young lawyer to a high court justice, Jardeleza specifically addressed his criticism to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio—both his co-alumni of the UP College of Law.

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“The Chief Justice and the senior associate Justice objected to my nomination, on grounds that I lacked integrity in my handling of the West Philippine Sea arbitration,” retold Jardeleza, speaking publicly for the first time on his controversial appointment to the high court in August 2014.

In opposing Jardeleza’s nomination, Sereno and Carpio had cited the former Solicitor General’s legal strategy in the Philippines’ arbitration case against China on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

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Earlier reports pointed to Jardeleza’s supposed deletion of crucial paragraphs in the memorandum the Philippines submitted to the United Nations arbitral tribunal.

The deleted parts, eventually restored with the supposed intervention of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, pertained to Taiwan-controlled Itu Aba, the biggest land feature in the disputed Spratly Islands.

Jardeleza’s purported actions were said to be acts of “disloyalty” to the country.

Jardeleza still did not discuss why the Taiwan-controlled islet was deleted from the country’s international complaint, citing the confidentiality required of officials who handled the government’s arbitration case, but he called the allegations “vicious untruths.”

“You spend a whole lifetime building a reputation worthy of your parents… You also spend a whole lifetime building a reputation worthy of your family…. So when my integrity was attacked, I knew I had to fight back, if only to clear my name,” Jardeleza said in his remarks.

“It was hard to defend myself because I couldn’t talk about the West Philippine Sea arbitration. I had to keep the confidences of my client, the Republic of the Philippines. Under our code of ethics, we carry the secrets of the client to the grave. These secrets include case litigation strategy and tactics. You do not telegraph these to the adversary. That would be treason,” he said.

Jardeleza said his “accusers” had violated laws that protect the secrecy and confidentiality of sensitive documents, such as the leaked memorandum.

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“As you can imagine, there are laws and administrative orders prohibiting public officers charged with the custody of confidential and secret documents from revealing their contents,” said the magistrate.

“My accusers violated these laws with impunity. Criminal wrongdoing was piled upon brazen disregard of the inviolability of state secrets. Laws were broken when (1) persons who had custody of official documents leaked them to persons not members of the legal team, and (2) when the latter recklessly placed them in the public domain,” he said.

He said the episode had brought him “close to professional death.” “It came as a complete surprise; I didn’t know what hit me. This was the start of the most difficult two months of my life, and that of [my family],” he said.

“I was so close to professional death, an inglorious end to a career I had worked so hard to nurture. It is an experience I would not wish on anybody. But, as the cliché goes, life is not fair. You try to be good, but the reality is unkind persons roam this world. If these souls try to do you harm what do you do?” said Jardeleza, in another dig at his fellow magistrates.

Jardeleza was eventually redeemed when President Aquino appointed him to the high court vacancy on Aug. 20, 2014.

The justices have not issued a response as of Tuesday afternoon.

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, francis jardeleza, Graduation, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Supreme Court, University of the Philippines (UP)
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