IT turns out that Ma. Lourdes Sereno is a fake Chief Justice.
This has emerged as an indisputable fact, and Solicitor General Jose Calida’s move asking the Supreme Court to remove her is an open-and-shut case.
By failing to submit her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for at least seven years (1999 to 2006, except for 2002), she not only violated the Constitution and the two laws that required such for all government personnel except laborers. That violation of the law disqualified her to be even a member of the Supreme Court.
Sereno also had not complied with the very specific requirements issued by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in 2012 that candidates for the Chief Justice post who are or have been in government must submit all their previous SALNs.
Karma it certainly is. President Aquino used as a smokescreen to get the Senate to remove then Chief Justice Renato Corona the allegation that he submitted an incomplete SALN, as he did not include his dollar accounts. Now Sereno will be removed because she did not file the required SALNs for several years.
That she failed to submit her SALNs for at least seven years has been established beyond any doubt by the University of the Philippines where she had been an instructor, by the Office of the Ombudsman to which she was required to submit the reports every year, and by the JBC
Sereno’s excuses have been preposterous. In 2012, she requested the JBC that she be “treated as a private sector” so that she need not submit her SALN. She was clearly not, having been with the faculty of the government institution. The JBC did not even respond to her strange request.
When the issue was raised recently, her spokesman Carlo Cruz claimed that the UP had cleared her of all “academic/administrative responsibilities…which would of course include the SALN requirements.” That argument was as ignorant as it was stupid: SALNs for her rank are required to be submitted to the Ombudsman, not to the UP.
Sereno cannot produce copies of her SALNs, even as the procedure for such submission is for a third copy to be receipted by the receiving office, and given to the official submitting the document.
That she did not submit her SALNs for several years could not have been uncovered if the House committee on justice investigating the complaint for her impeachment had not subpoenaed the three bodies (UP, the Ombudsman, and the JBC) to submit her SALN.
Why on earth didn’t she file her SALNs?
One probable reason is (more…)