InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS
The festering feud within the Supreme Court over Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's management style has gone on record, with Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro leading eight other justices in assailing Sereno for allegedly clipping the SC powers in favor of the Judicial and Bar Council that the chief justice herself chairs.
"There appears to be a systematic move by the JBC, under Chief Justice Sereno, to arrogate to itself more power and influence than is actually granted by the Constitution and this Court, and at the same time, to ease out the Court from any legitimate participation in the nomination process for vacancies in the Judiciary, specifically in the Supreme Court," said Leonardo-De Castro.
"These changes in settled rules and practices recently adopted by the JBC under Chief Justice Sereno are disconcerting," said Leonardo-De Castro in an en banc decision released last week. The decision invalidated the JBC's "clustering" of court nominees, a list that the council submits to Malacañang for the President to choose from.
Those who voted with Leonardo-De Castro censuring the JBC without reservation: Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Portugal Perez, Jose Catral Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, and Francis Jardeleza.
Of the nine justices, Perez and Brion are scheduled to reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 later this month.
Except for Sereno, who desisted from taking part in the deliberations, the remaining justices went along with the qualified position of Marvic Leonen that the Supreme Court cannot meddle in the JBC's internal rules "because doing so would be an unconstitutional affront to (its) independence."
In any case, the Leonen group agreed with the majority position to ask the JBC to explain why it had deleted an internal rule requiring the SC justices to vet future SC justices.
Also, the justices want Sereno as JBC chair to explain why Leonardo-De Castro and Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. had been removed as JBC consultants.
Known as the presiding Sandiganbayan justice who convicted deposed President Joseph Estrada of plunder, Leonardo-De Castro was chafing at her and Velasco having been "unceremoniously relieved," thereby stopping a practice since the JBC was created in 1987 that the two most senior SC justices sit in the council.
According to Leonardo-De Castro, she and Velasco had been replaced by retired Chief Justices Hilario Davide Jr., Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno "without notice, warning or explanation."
This is not the first time that Leonardo-De Castro has clashed with Sereno on her management of the judiciary.
In late 2012, she also questioned why Sereno had approved the reopening of an administrative office in Cebu, given the pending reservations of the other justices.
And in the landmark Hacienda Luisita case, Leonardo-De Castro also set aside judicial niceties when she expressed her "vehement disagreement" on the valuation of the Cojuangco sugar estate made by her then junior colleague "which will put the land beyond the capacity of the farmer to pay, based on her (Sereno's) strained construction/interpretation of the law."
Velasco himself had censured Sereno in 2011, before she became chief justice, for having disclosed the high tribunal's internal deliberations involving former President Gloria Arroyo.
- Yokohama Tire is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Philippines with the expansion of its Clark factory that will annually produce 12.5 million tires, mainly for export, beginning next year. Established in 1996 with an initial capacity of 1.2 million tires, the Clark hub has grown to become the second-biggest production facility of the Yokohama Rubber Group.
- The US manufacturing conglomerate 3M has a new president and managing director for the Philippines, Ariel Lacsamana, who despite his Filipino-sounding name is actually an American citizen.
Heard through the grapevine
Tip to those scouting for last-minute, bargain airfare to New York amid the Yuletide rush.
Ethiopian Airlines has a few remaining Manila-Newark round-trip, business-class tickets for less than $2,000, all-in, including travel and airport taxes.
The flight must be taken on or before December 31, with the return portion good up to a year.
Downside: The route is a milk run, stopping at Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Lome (Togo) before crossing the Atlantic to reach New York.
Expect to be cocooned in the plane – hey, it's a brand-new Boeing Dreamliner – for 34 hours.