Philippines’ Aquino Names Ex-San Miguel Lawyer to Supreme Court

Philippine President Benigno Aquino appointed the nation’s chief government lawyer to the 15-member Supreme Court, boosting the number of his appointees to five.

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, a Harvard Law School graduate and former lawyer for San Miguel Corp., will replace Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who retired in May, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said in a statement today. Jardeleza, 64, will serve for six years.

Jardeleza almost didn’t make it after Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, another Aquino appointee, blocked his bid, saying she had questions about his integrity. He prevailed after the high court overruled Sereno.

Jardeleza placed third in the 1974 bar examinations and was senior vice president and general counsel of San Miguel from 1996 to 2010, according to the solicitor general’s website. Aquino appointed him deputy ombudsman in July 2011 and solicitor general in February 2012.

Jardeleza is Aquino’s fifth top court appointee after Sereno and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes. The other court members were appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo.