Aquino to name SC magistrate based on probity, integrity – Palace

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Monday, August 11, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will appoint an associate justice in the Supreme Court based on probity and integrity.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the statement on Monday to counter observations that Aquino could possibly name Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza to replace retired Associate Justice Roberto Abad to counterbalance the situation in the Supreme Court, which recently declared the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional.

Even Aquino's appointees to the high court led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno voted against the DAP.

"I think that's not a correct way of looking at it because whenever a vacancy occurs in the judiciary, regardless of who the Chief Executive is or who is the President, he or she is bound to appoint a nominee," said Lacierda in a media briefing.

"It just so happens that there's an issue, a specific issue that you're looking at. But the President has always maintained that he should appoint someone of probity, integrity, and the descriptions provided in the Constitution," he added.

Sereno blocked Jardeleza's nomination, prompting the latter to file a petition before the SC questioning the move to strike him out from the shortlist.

The high court ordered Malacanang to comment on Jardeleza's petition.

In a five-page comment, the Palace hit Sereno for violating Jardeleza's right to due process, as he was not given a chance to answer Sereno's reservations against his integrity.

Asked if Aquino was inclined to appoint Jardeleza to SC, Lacierda said that the President has not met with any of the nominees yet.

"So is that an inclination? I cannot say for sure because it was a comment provided by—to ES (Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr.) and so ES responded. So as to how the Supreme Court will rule on the matter, it’s entirely up to them, so we’re just waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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