SC won’t stop Aquino from picking new justice yet

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III can still select the next associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC) after no stay order was issued by the magistrates in their regular session on Tuesday.

The Court only ordered Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to comment within 10 days on the petition of Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, who protested his exclusion from the shortlist of nominees submitted to Aquino on June 30.

Jardeleza got four votes for inclusion from the screening body JBC, along with Quezon City Judge Reynaldo Daway, but Sereno blocked his nomination for alleged integrity issues, citing Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC rules.

In his petition, Jardeleza slammed Sereno for acting like a prosecutor, witness and a judge during the selection process.

He said Aquino should also be barred from naming the replacement of Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who retired on May 22, because his constitutional power to appoint has been impaired by the JBC's decision to recommend only four instead of five nominees.

"This is tantamount to forcing the President to appoint a member of the Supreme Court from a list generated through a process that is tainted with a patent violation of the Constitution and a reckless disregard for the fundamental rules of justice and fair play," the petition stated.

Court of Appeals (CA) Justices Apolinario Bruselas Jr. and Jose Reyes Jr. and Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan also made it to the shortlist.

Aquino has until August 22 to pick the next magistrate. (Sunnex)

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