November 28, 2017 at 01:15 am
CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) from 2001, 2003-2009 are missing from her 201 file at the University of the Philippines, where she was employed before she was appointed Supreme Court associate justice in 2010.
At the impeachment hearing Monday, the section head of the UP records section, Rosemarie Fabiona, told the House committee on justice that Sereno’s 2002 SALN was all they had, but could not say what had happened to the missing documents because she only became a custodian in 2014.
Angela Escoto, chief of the UP Human Resource Department Office, told lawmakers she could not recall any instance when UP professors failed to file their SALNs, which were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman every year.
She added, however, that her predecessor might have turned all the documents over to the Ombudsman.
Escoto, who has been head of UP’s HRD Office, said the best way to find the missing SALNs was to check with the Ombudsman.
The panel chairman, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, then ordered the committee secretary to ask the Ombudsman to furnish them with copies of Sereno’s SALNs, including those from 2001 and 2003 to 2009.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno, said the chief justice of received hefty lawyers fees between 2004 and 2009, which should have been declared in 2010, and which should have been reflected in her real properties, cash deposits in banks and investments.
Gadon filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno for culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption and other high crimes.
One of his allegations is that Sereno did not properly declare all her assets in her SALNs—the same charge that was used by the previous administration to oust her predecessor, Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Sereno has denied the allegations but has refused to attend the House hearings to determine probable cause to send the complaint to trial in the Senate.
Sereno was an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III. She was appointed chief justice in 2012, after Aquino’s allies in Congress ousted Corona by impeachment.