MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) recently announced that it has cleared Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza of allegations of disloyalty or betrayal of the country in the light of the West Philippine sea issue.
According to the SC, Jardeleza’s exclusion of the Itu Aba from the memorial was not an act of disloyalty to the Constitution. The high court dismissed the allegations of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno as “disagreement in legal opinion.”
“Consonantly, a lawyer is not an insurer of victory for clients he represents. An infallible grasp of legal principles and technique by a lawyer is a utopian ideal. Stripped of a clear showing of gross neglect, iniquity or immoral purpose, a strategy of a legal mind remains a legal tactic acceptable to some and deplorable to others,” stated by the ruling penned by Associate Justice Jose Mendoza.
The SC also pointed out,“Verily, disagreement in legal opinion is but a normal, if not an essential, form of interaction among members of the legal community. A lawyer has complete discretion on what legal strategy to employ in a case entrusted to him, provided that he lives up to his duty to serve his client with competence and diligence, and that he exerts his best efforts to protect the interests of his client within the bounds of the law.”
The high court also added that it is the President who has the final say regarding the conduct of the country’s advocacy. Moreover, he is the best judge to suspect a disloyal agenda. The President “has given no signs that Jardaleza’s action constituted disloyalty or a betrayal of the country’s trust and interest.”
The decision of Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) was also overturned.
“It has no direct bearing on his moral choices,” it stressed.
Given that, the SC ordered the JBC to review their rule regarding the right of Jardeleza to be informed of the issues against him. According to the SC, the JBC violated its own rules of procedure.