ONE of the spokespersons of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno yesterday said that the magistrate did not commit treason when she divulged classified information on the country’s claim over islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Lawyer Carlo Cruz was responding to Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza’s claim during the impeachment hearing against Sereno before the House committee on justice.
During the hearing, Jardeleza charged that Sereno committed treason when she disclosed a highly confidential memorandum in the arbitration case in objecting to his nomination for a seat in the Supreme Court.
This objection, according to Jardeleza, caused his exclusion from the Judicial and Bar Council shortlist.
But Cruz claimed that Sereno was not the one who disclosed the memorandum filed by Jardeleza for the Philippine government before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the Hague where the then solicitor general omitted Itu Aba among the government’s claims against China.
In the leaked memorandum, Jardeleza submitted the position that Itu Aba is only a rock, but Sereno thinks otherwise, referring to it as an island.
“The CJ merely acted on the concerns raised by Senior Justice (Antonio) Carpio. The entire JBC heeded these concerns and acted accordingly,” Cruz said.
Cruz stressed that it was Sereno’s duty as chairperson of the JBC “to properly heed the concerns of Justice Carpio regarding that issue.”
The lawyer, however, did not specifically say if it was Carpio who provided the JBC with the memorandum.
“The CJ acted in good faith. Her having invoked the JBC’s unanimity rule was because of Justice Carpio’s concerns,” he explained.#