Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon on Tuesday welcomed the Department of Justice decision to forward the graft complaint against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Gadon filed last January before the DoJ the graft complaint against Sereno, whom he accused of failing to file her SALNs during her 17-year stint as a professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law.
“I welcome the action taken by DoJ Secretary to endorse to the Ombudsman the complaint I filed against Atty. Maria Lourdes Sereno in connection with her failure to obey the law requiring all government employees to file SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth] every year,” Gadon said in a statement.
“I filed it at the time when the respondent was still clothed with immunity from suits notwithstanding to avoid prescription of criminal acts as they were committed when Atty. Sereno was still teaching in a state university,” he added.
The preliminary investigation on Gadon’s complaints was shelved at the DoJ since, at the time they were filed, Sereno was still Chief Justice and was immune from suit.
Guevarra said he has endorsed the complaint against Sereno to the top anti-graft office after she was ousted as top magistrate via quo warranto proceedings.
In his complaint, Gadon accused Sereno of violating Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
He said Sereno violated RA 6713 when she submitted only three SALNs during her stint as a law professor at the UP College of Law from 1986 to 2006 prior to her SC appointment in 2012.
Citing Republic Act 3019, he said Sereno violated the law, which “requires every public officer to prepare and file a true and detailed sworn statement of assets and liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and sources of income, the amounts of personal and family expenses, and the amount of income taxes paid.”
Gadon, who also filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno before the House of Representatives in August 2017, expressed confidence that “the complaint will be given due course and will be resolved on the basis of its merits.”
The quo warranto petition sought the nullification of Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice for her failure to comply with the requirements to qualify for the position.
The failure of Sereno to meet this 10-SALN requirement was among the grounds cited by the SC in granting the quo warranto petition against her.
The petition sought to void Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice in 2012 due to her failure to submit before the JBC her SALNs she was supposed to have filed during her tenure as law professor of the University of the Philippines (UP).
SC Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin were among the six justices asked by Sereno to inhibit from the deliberation on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which was eventually granted by the Court in a decision issued last May 11. The decision became final on June 19.