MANILA: POLITICS – Group asks House to initiate impeach vs ‘immoral’ justices

Pinoy Aksyon, a support propaganda group identified with Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. called on President Duterte and the House of Representatives to investigate allegations of immorality against Supreme Court Justice Francis Jardeleza.

The group, which claims to be an anti-corruption watchdog issued a statement saying, “We challenge the allies of the President to follow his example — to exercise their power to hold to account misfits in the judiciary and not just single out the chief justice whose only fault is to speak her mind out on matters like human rights and checks and balances in government,” Pinoy Aksyon said.

Justice Jardeleza and the other justices who attended the hearing at the House of Representative justice committee had testified to the alleged “manipulation” of Sereno for the Judicial and Bar Council to exclude Jardeleza, then a candidate for the position of SC associate justice, from the list to be submitted to the then President, Benino Aquino, on account of Jardeleza’s alleged “lack of integrity.”

This has become a ground for impeachment against Sereno.

The group said lawyer Lorenzo Gadon claimed in his verified complaint that only Chief Justice Sereno opposed his nomination in the Judicial and Bar Council.

However, the JBC, in response to the subpoena issued by the Committee on Justice had submitted its Minutes on the deliberation of the JBC on Jardeleza’s application that not only belied Gadon’s claim but exposed that Jardeleza was not only accused of treason on the Itu Aba case but also of infidelity, a ground for disbarment, the Sereno propaganda support group.

Pinoy Aksyon is appealing to Congress to use its energy in more productive activities and stop the unsuccessful fishing expedition against the Chief Justice.

“If Congress is really serious in its efforts to hold accountable officials, it should look into real issues. While Pinoy Aksyon acknowledges that members of the High Court are themselves humans and have imperfections, there are parameters to these limitations. Morality should be one of the non-negotiables. One such issue that appears to be a thorn in the credibility of the High Court is the issue of extra-marital affairs against one its members,” the group said.

According to Pinoy Aksyon, another member of the JBC, is also opposed the nomination of Jardeleza not only on the Itu Aba matter but on immorality since Jardeleza allegedly had an extramarital Affairs with another lawyer.

Pinoy Aksyon refused to name the lady lawyer who reportedly was Jardeleza’s subordinate when he was in the private sector.

“But yes, there are reports verified by the JBC member that would point to Jardeleza, a married man, allegedly engaging in infidelity with a lady lawyer,” said BenCy Ellorin of Pinoy Aksyon.

On the West Philippine Sea issue, Ellorin said the bias of the House committee is shown when it did not ask Justice Antonio Carpio to testify on it when he was the complainant against Jardeleza.

Carpio accused Jardeleza for his “treasonous” act of excluding the Itu Aba Reef from the territorial claim of the Philippines before the international arbitration when he was Solicitor General. Despite this, the committee on justice did not ask Carpio to testify on his charges against Jardeleza and instead asked him on matters that are not within his personal knowledge.

“The Supreme Court as the regulatory body of the legal profession, has in a long line of cases removed judges and disbarred lawyers because of the morality issues. It is a no brainer therefore, that only those who maintain high moral standards should be appointed to the SC. Any SC member who engages in infidelity should be removed, disbarred ,”Pinoy Aksyon said.

Rather than use the impeachment process to get back at the Chief Justice, the more honorable thing for the justice is to resign. If not, forces of the administration in Congress should initiate an impeachment proceeding against him.

It was not explained by the Sereno propaganda group why it is asking the House of Representatives to initiate an impeachment against Jardeleza instead of Pinoy Aksyon filing an impeachment compl;aint against Jardeleza.

It can be recalled that a municipal court judge in Surigao del Norte was dismissed by the High Court for immorality.

The High Court dismissed MCTC Judge Exequil Dagala last year for immorality and perpetually disqualified him from re-employment in government. He was one of the judges linked by the president to illegal drugs.

“There should be consistency in applying the moral integrity rule,” Pinoy Aksyon said.

The group also called on the administration of President Duterte that if ever there are members of the High Court that deserve sacking, it definitely is not the chief justice.

Reporters tried but failed to get a reaction from Jadeleza.

Sereno and her propagandists have been extra busy looking for ways and means to defend Sereno, whose imepachment is imminent.

The Daily Tribune
Written by  Jason Faustino
Friday, 19 January 2018 00:00

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