U.P. explains why Sereno did not file SALNs while she was university prof

December 11, 2017 - 12:35 PM
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Philstar file photo of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines and the Office of the Ombudsman have responded to the directive of the House Committee on Justice to shed light on why some of the Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno were missing.

The missing SALNs were supposedly filed by Sereno when she was UP professor in the years before she was appointed in 2010 as top magistrate by then President Benigno Aquino III.

On Monday, December 11, during the continuation of the committee’s hearing on the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Sereno, a letter from the UP Human Resources Development Office (HRDO) was read, stating that the office did not find the chief magistrate’s records in its file for the years 2000 to 2001 and 2003 to 2006.

According to the UP HRDO, Sereno was on official leave during these years until she resigned in 2006 as evidenced by her letter to then university chancellor Emerlinda R. Roman.

In previous hearings, the office’s Angela Escoto said her office had only retrieved the 2002 SALN of Sereno.

The UP official also said there were also no records in Sereno’s personal files in her office of “permission to engage in the limited practice of profession.”

“Based on the 201 file of Chief Justice Sereno, no record appears of the permission to engage in limited practice of profession,” she said.

UP faculty members were required to submit a form asking for permission to engage in private practice.

Gadon is accusing Sereno of failing to declare her earnings worth $745,000 or P37 million in her SALN when she served as a government counsel in the case with the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. before an international court in 2003 when she was a university professor.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman’s office, through a letter, on Monday also submitted to the House panel certified true copies of Sereno’s 1998 SALN.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which was also subpoenaed by the House panel to submit copies of Sereno’s SALNs, has yet to comply.

JBC executive officer Annaliza Ty-Capacite said a resolution by the council in relation to the House directive was still being processed and finalized.

Applicants for the chief justice and justice positions are required to submit their SALNs to the JBC.