Suspended lawyer files graft vs ex-Pres. Aquino, Sereno, JBC execs at Ombudsman
A suspended lawyer filed on Monday a graft complaint against former President Benigno S. Aquino III, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and two officials of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) over the appointment of the lady magistrate to the top judicial post.
Atty. Eligio Mallari filed a ten-page complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, accusing the respondents of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice in 2012. Mallari claimed Sereno is unqualified for the position as she allegedly failed to comply with the requirements such as the submission of the complete statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Mallari has been suspended by the Supreme Court (SC) for two years for resorting to dilatory tactics to prevent the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from foreclosing two parcels of land, which he used for a loan in 1968.
“During the resumption of the hearing of the House Committee on Justice on February 12, 2018, it was determined that Sereno’s appointment was void from the start,” Mallari’s complaint stated.
Aside from Aquino and Sereno, the suspended lawyer also named Annaliza Ty-Capacite, Executive Director of the JBC; and Richard Pascual, JBC Chief of Office of Selection and Nomination, as respondents in his complaint.
Mallari asserted that the respondents gave “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Sereno through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, in violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019.”
“Irrefutably, respondents Capacite, Pascual, Sereno and Aquino III individually had caused undue injury to SC justices Carpio, Velasco and Leonardo-De Castro and retired SC justices Abad and Brion, all contenders for the chief justice post in 2012,” he said.
During the February 12 hearing, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso said Sereno’s appointment was “invalid” from the start due to her supposed failure to comply with the requirements set by the JBC specifically on the submission of her SALN.
Senior SC Justices Diosdado Peralta and Teresita Leonardo de Castro, in the same hearing, said they were not informed that Sereno had failed to submit her most recent SALNs for the past 10 years prior her appointment as Chief Justice as required by the JBC.
Sereno’s camp, however, insisted she met the JBC requirements, explaining that three SALNs were filed since she was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2010.
They said Sereno did not submit SALNs for previous years as she was in private practice prior to her appointment to the high court /kga
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