MANILA—The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the call of several groups for the inhibition Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza from participating in the oral arguments on the petition filed by detained senator Leila De Lima questioning the legality of her arrest in connection to the drug raps filed against her.
“Preliminarily the motion for voluntary inhibition of Justice Jardeleza is denied,” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said before the start of the oral argument.
It will be recalled that prior to the start of the oral proceedings, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Republic Defenders and the United Filipino Seafarers called on Jardeleza to recuse from the case, citing his professional relationship with the detained senator that they said goes back to the 1980s.
The groups through lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Jardeleza and de Lima worked together at the Jardeleza Sobrevinas Hayudini and Bodegon Law Firm in 1987 as well as from 1991 to 1993 at the Roco, Bunag, Kapunan, Migallos and Jardeleza Law Firm.
Topacio said Jardeleza also served as Solicitor General from 2012 until he was appointed to the SC on August 2014 when De Lima was the Justice Secretary.
Topacio though clarified they would not file a formal motion calling on Jardeleza’s inhibition since the VACC and the other groups are not party to the case being heard by the SC.
He explained their call is only so that Jardeleza’s vote on the case would not be tainted by negative perception.