'Bitter' De Castro should raise Sereno qualification issues with JBC – lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro should address her questions on the qualifications of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which screens candidates for positions in the judiciary, the top magistrate's camp said on Wednesday, January 31.

Sereno's spokesperson, lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, was responding to De Castro's allegation that Sereno is not fit to be Chief Justice since she allegedly failed to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) during some of her years as a University of the Philippines law professor. (READ: Justice De Castro: Did Sereno 'deceive' JBC?)

"Justice De Castro's gripes on the manner by which the JBC came up with the shortlist in 2012 should be addressed to the JBC, which at the time was headed by SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta as acting chair. The fact that the JBC shortlisted the Chief Justice means its members found her documentary submissions complete and compliant with the rules," Lacanilao said.

"It is unfortunate that Justice De Castro is casting doubt not only on the integrity of the selection process of the JBC, but also on the integrity of its members," he added.

Lacanilao said De Castro's latest tirade against the Chief Justice was "borne out of bitterness" as the former was among the contenders for top magistrate in 2012.

Lacanilao added that since Sereno became Chief Justice in 2012, "Justice De Castro has been in personal vendetta against the Chief Justice, questioning every single official act of the Chief Justice."

"Mahigit 5 taon na ang nakalilipas at nalalapit na ang kanyang retirement, pero hindi pa rin maka-move on si Justice De Castro. Napakasidhi ng kanyang sama ng loob dahil hindi siya ang napili na CJ," he said.

(It's been more than 5 years already and her retirement is nearing, but Justice De Castro still can't move on. She's still extremely upset because she wasn't chosen as CJ.)

De Castro had earlier denied that she had a personal grudge against the Chief Justice, when she testified at the House hearing on the impeachment complaint against Sereno. (READ: De Castro testimony exposes division in the Supreme Court) – Rappler.com