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Due Process is Demandable as a Matter of

Right in JBC Proceedings (Jardeleza vs


Sereno, 2014)

Jardeleza vs Sereno
GR 213181 August 19, 2014
Full Text
Facts:
Following Justice Abads compulsory retirement, the JBC announced the application or
recommendations for the position left by the Associate Justice. Jardeleza, the incumbent Sol-Gen at
the time, was included in the list of candidates. However, he was informed through telephone call
from some Justices that the Chief Justice herself CJ Sereno, will be invoking Sec 2, Rule 10 of
JBC-009 or the so-called unanimity rule against him. Generally, the rule is that an applicant is
included in the shortlist when s/he obtains affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the members of
the JBC. When Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009, however, is invoked because an applicants integrity
is challenged, a unanimous vote is required. Jardeleza was then directed to make himself available
on June 30, 2014 before the JBC during which he would be informed of the objections to his
integrity.

Jardeleza wrote a letter-petition asking the SC to exercise its supervisory power and direct the JBC
to, among others, give Jardeleza a written notice and sworn written statements of his oppositors or
any documents in the JBC hearings, and to disallow CJ Sereno from participating in the voting
process for nominees on June 30, 2014.

During the June 30, 2014 meeting of the JBC, Justice Carpio appeared and disclosed a confidential
information which, to CJ Sereno, characterized Jardelezas integrity as dubious. Jardeleza
demanded that CJ Sereno execute a sworn statement specifying her objections and that he be
afforded the right to cross-examine her in a public hearing. He also requested deferment of the JBC
proceedings, as the SC en banc has yet to decide in his letter-petition.

However, the JBC continued its deliberations and proceeded to vote for the nominees to be included
in the shortlist. Thereafter, the JBC released the shortlist of 4 nominees. It was revealed later that
there were actually 5 nominees who made it to the JBC shortlist, but 1 nominee could not be
included because of the invocation of the unanimity rule..
Jardeleza filed for certiorari and mandamus via Rule 65 with prayer for TRO to compel the JBC to
include him in the list of nominees on the grounds that the JBC and CJ Sereno acted with grave
abuse of discretion in excluding him, despite having garnered a sufficient number of votes to qualify
for the position.

Political Law
Issue: W/N the right to due process is demandable as a matter of right in JBC proceedings
Yes. While it is true that the JBC proceedings are sui generis, it does not mean that an applicants
access to the rights afforded under the due process clause is discretionary on the part of JBC.

The Court does not brush aside the unique and special nature of JBC proceedings. Notwithstanding
being a class of its own, the right to be heard and to explain ones self is availing. In cases where
an objection to an applicants qualifications is raised, the observance of due process neither
contradicts the fulfillment of the JBCs duty to recommend. This holding is not an encroachment on
its discretion in the nomination process. Actually, its adherence to the precepts of due process
supports and enriches the exercise of its discretion. When an applicant, who vehemently denies the
truth of the objections, is afforded the chance to protest, the JBC is presented with a clearer
understanding of the situation it faces, thereby guarding the body from making an unsound and
capricious assessment of information brought before it. The JBC is not expected to strictly apply the
rules of evidence in its assessment of an objection against an applicant. Just the same, to hear the
side of the person challenged complies with the dictates of fairness because the only test that an
exercise of discretion must surmount is that of soundness.

Consequently, the Court is compelled to rule that Jardeleza should have been included in the
shortlist submitted to the President for the vacated position of Associate Justice Abad. This
consequence arose not from the unconstitutionality of Section 2, Rule 10 of JBC-009 per se, but
from the violation by the JBC of its own rules of procedure and the basic tenets of due process. By
no means does the Court intend to strike down the unanimity rule as it reflects the JBCs policy
and, therefore, wisdom in its selection of nominees. Even so, the Court refuses to turn a blind eye on
the palpable defects in its implementation and the ensuing treatment that Jardeleza received before
the Council. True, Jardeleza has no vested right to a nomination, but this does not prescind from the
fact that the JBC failed to observe the minimum requirements of due process. ##

Remedial Law
Issue 1: W/N the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the case
Yes. Jardelezas allegations in his petitions merits the exercise of the Courts supervisory authority
over the JBC. Under Sec 8, Art VIII of the Constitution, the JBC shall function under the supervision
of the SC. It follows that such supervisory authority covers the overseeing of whether the JBC
complies with its own rules or not.
Issue 2: W/N a writ of mandamus is available against the JBC
No. The JBCs duty to nominate is discretionary and it may not be compelled to do something.

Mandamus lies to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty, but not to compel the
performance of a discretionary duty. Mandamus will not issue to control or review the exercise of
discretion of a public officer where the law imposes upon said public officer the right and duty to
exercise his judgment in reference to any matter in which he is required to act. It is his judgment
that is to be exercised and not that of the court.

Issue 3: W/N a writ of certiorari under Sec 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is available against the
JBC (which is not exercising quasi-judicial functions)
Yes. Under the expanded jurisdiction or expanded power of judicial review vested to the SC by the
1987 Constitution, a petition for certiorari is a proper remedy to question the act of any branch or
instrumentality of the government on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction by any branch or instrumentality of the government, even if the latter does not
exercise judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions. ##