Associate Justice Tijam to study JBC records on Sereno

The Supreme Court (SC) has authorized Associate Justice Noel Tijam to scrutinize records of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) pertinent to the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Tijam was tasked to study the case and write a recommendation whether Sereno should be sacked from office for her failure to file her Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

Sources told The Manila Times the SC en banc empowered Tijam to look into the credentials of Sereno and pore over the documents that she submitted, including her SALNs, to determine if the chief justice, indeed, lied to the JBC and if there are grounds for the high tribunal to rule that her appointment was void from the start.

The tribunal is expected to come out with a ruling on whether it has jurisdiction on the case during its summer session in Baguio City this month.

The SC justices will also decide if they should give due course to the quo warranto case against Sereno, given her claim that she can only be ousted through an impeachment hearing by the Senate.

Calida, in his petition, alleged that Sereno was illegally holding her post because she did not submit her SALNs for 10 years.

“Unfortunately for respondent Sereno, she flunked the test of integrity when she failed to file more or less 10 SALNs,” the chief government lawyer said, adding that members of the judiciary must be persons “of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”

“(T)he invalidity of Respondent’s appointment as Chief Justice was exposed in view of her failure to submit her SALNs for several years from 1986 to 2006 when she was a professor at the UP College of Law. It was discovered that aside from her SALNS for the years 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2011 which she submitted in her applications for Associate Justice and Chief Justice, Respondent only filed SALNs for the years 1998, 2002, and 2006 during her tenure as law professor at the UP College of Law from 1986 up to 2006. Respondent was nominated to the positions of Associate Justice and Chief Justice despite her failure to file her SALNs which were required to determine whether she passed the constitutional requirement of integrity,” the OSG said.

Sereno asked the SC to dismiss the quo warranto petition, saying impeachable officials like her can only be removed through impeachment.

The chief justice, who was forced to go on indefinite leave, said the high court has no jurisdiction to sack her from office.

She added that her alleged failure to file her SALNs when she was a law professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law was not raised in the impeachment complaint filed against her at the House of Representatives.

She lied?

Calida said Sereno’s repeated failure to file her SALNs and her dishonesty before the JBC are demonstrative of her obstinate refusal to comply with the law.

He said Sereno committed gross misrepresentation before the JBC when she explained that the reason for her non-submission of SALNs was that she could no longer retrieve all her SALNs.

“Truth, however, is that she failed to file her SALN 11 times from 1986 to 2006,” Calida added. “In any event, a perusal of Sereno’s submitted SALNs further reveals that she did commit a litany of falsehoods.”

The chief government lawyer pointed out that Sereno’s SALN dated December 31, 1998 was filed only in 2003, or five years beyond the period required by law. She used the prescribed SALN form for later years. Sereno’s 2009 SALN was also belatedly filed on June 22, 2012, or three years beyond the prescribed period.

“The 1998 SALN shows that she did not only file it late, she also belatedly accomplished it,” Calida said. “The 2009 SALN reflects that she was holding the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, when in fact, she was only appointed on August 16, 2010.”

BY JOMAR CANLAS, TMT ON APRIL 2, 2018

Tijam to study JBC records on Sereno

The Supreme Court (SC) has authorized Associate Justice Noel Tijam to scrutinize records of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) pertinent to the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

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