Filtered By: Topstories

Sereno camp: JBC waived SALN requirement for 13 applicants, too

Chief Justice (on leave) Maria Lourdes Sereno, through her spokespersons, on Monday claimed the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) had waived its requirement of Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) not only for her but for 13 other applicants for the position in 2012.

At least four Supreme Court justices, two former law school deans, and one congressman "failed to submit their complete SALNs to the JBC," a press statement from Sereno's camp said.

"The submission of all SALNs for those in government was a requirement which the JBC can waive and it waived not only for Sereno but also for 13 other applicants who had failed to submit their complete SALNs to the JBC," it added.

The other candidates were former SC associate justices Roberto Abad and Arturo Brion, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former University of the Philippines College of Law dean Raul Pangalangan, University of the East College of Law Dean and incumbent Social Security System chairman Amado Valdez, and San Juan City Representative Ronaldo Zamora.

Sereno's alleged incomplete submission of her declarations of wealth was one of the charges hurled against her in the impeachment complaint filed with the House of Representatives.

It is also one of the pretexts of the petition for quo warranto filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida challenging her appointment as chief justice. Sereno, through her lawyers, had formally sought the dismissal of the petition.

In her comment, Sereno argued that an impeachable officer such as herself can only be removed by impeachment, stressing that the SC cannot give due course to Calida's petition without violating the Constitution and jurisprudence.

Senator Francis Escudero, a former JBC member, said the body relaxed its rules on SALN submissions even before Sereno applied for the position of SC associate justice. But the relaxed rules, he said, did not mean the applicants were excused from submitting SALNs.

The relaxed rules apparently applied to very old SALNs. —Nicole-Anne Lagrimas/KBK, GMA News