Sereno camp: SC can’t ignore the fact that she filed her UP SALNs
The camp of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has accused the Supreme Court (SC) of “overlooking” the fact that Sereno had already submitted her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).
Lawyer Carlo Cruz, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, urged the SC to take a second look into the filing of Sereno’s 12 SALNs prior to her appointment as the chief magistrate.
He said that the high court could not disregard the fact that Sereno had filed all her SALNs while she was a law professor at the University of the Philippines (UP).
“The SC cannot just ignore the fact that CJ Sereno had actually filed her UP SALNs,” Cruz said in a statement.
“With due respect to the SC, hindi po ibig sabihin na hindi nakapag-submit ng SALN ay wala nang integridad,” he added.
(Not submitting a SALN doesn’t mean the person doesn’t have integrity.)
Before Sereno was ousted as the chief justice of the country, Solicitor General Jose Calida argued that Sereno had failed to prove her integrity as an applicant for the top position of the judiciary.
Calida was the one who filed the quo warranto petition that received an 8-6 votes from the other justices of SC, making Sereno the first chief justice to get ousted without undergoing an impeachment trial.
Cruz asserted that the SC’s quo warranto decision “is contrary to its own rulings pertaining to SALNs, particularly on its pronouncement that failure to file SALN is not basis for removal from office.”
According to Cruz, it has been the ruling of the high court to use SALN as a tool to prevent corruption in the office and only remove an official found guilty of misdeclaration.
Sereno’s spokesperson said that no official “was sanctioned for non-filing of SALN alone” and with no alleged misdeclaration of wealth.
“Naipakita sa mga desisyon ng SC, na consistent naman, wala namang tinanggal sa pwesto dahil sa non-submission of SALN. Binigyan lang o pinatawan ng karampatang parusa o penalty pero removal hindi kasama ‘yun sa non-submission of SALN,” he said.
(The decisions of the SC consistently show that no one has been ousted due to their non-submission of SALN. They were only given a penalty; the non-submission of SALN is not part of an official’s removal.)
Cruz added that during Sereno’s years in UP Law, she was not fully required to submit her SALN in some periods given that the ex-chief justice was on leave or did not receive compensation.
All administrative responsibilities, accountabilities, and the filing of SALNs of Sereno have already been cleared by the UP Human Resources Development Office (HRDO), particularly on the occasions dated on March 30, 2000, Nov. 1, 2003, and June 1, 2006, Cruz noted.
He added that the UP HRDO or any offices of the said university did not instructed Sereno to file specific documents or to revise the SALNs that she had already filed.
Citing the motion for reconsideration that Sereno recently filed before the SC, Cruz said that Sereno argued that “her repeated filing of her SALNs shows that her ‘intent, plan and habit as a UP professor was to religiously file her SALNs.'” /je
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