After Carpio, De Castro rebuffs Sereno on SALN claim

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro presented a proof on Monday, March 26, that she submitted the 10 required Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied for chief justice in 2012.

JBC certified on Monday that it has on record De Castro’s 15 years worth of SALNs from 1997 to 2011.

This is a move to disprove Sereno’s claim that 13 other Chief Justice applicants in 2012 did not submit all required SALNs to the JBC in 2012.

After, acting CJ Carpio, it's now Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro sending a JBC certification of her submitted SALNs. This is a response to Sereno's claim that 13 other applicants, including De Castro, did not submit all SALNs to JBC @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/VjMFzaMKqr — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) March 26, 2018

 

SALNs

The quo warranto petition against Sereno is based on the claim that because she did not file the necessary SALNs and did not submit them to the JBC, she did not comply with the constitutional requirement of integrity to be Chief Justice.

The argument is that the appointment was void, and therefore she should be removed.

In her answer to the petition submitted to the SC, Sereno said the JBC is the authorized body to make a call if someone passed the integrity test. That she was shortlisted proves she passed the test, she said. 

She further argued that JBC also waived the same requirement for other applicants, like De Castro and acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio.

The JBC required 10 years' worth of SALNs from applicants who have been in public service for that long a period.

Carpio was the first one to come out with a certification to prove Sereno wrong, showing 13 years worth of SALNs. De Castro follows suit.

This affects Sereno in two significant ways:

1. It can be considered a loophole to legal defense

2. She further ruffles some feathers in the en banc, the same people who have forced her to an indefinite leave and came out with a unified public stance to call her out on the misinformation on the circumstances of her leave

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has sought the court’s permission to file an intervention to stop the quo warranto proceeding.

Other groups have come out with a position saying the constitutional process of impeachment must be followed.

In a statement, the Center for Excellence in Governance (CEG) said: “We enjoin the Congress to utilize the impeachment proceedings as an opportunity to strengthen, rather than weaken, our democratic institutions.” – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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