SOLICITOR General Jose Calida on Monday insisted that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno failed to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth when she was a law professor at the University of the Philippines.
In a statement released Monday, Calida also asked Sereno to “stop deceiving the Filipino people.”
“In her 20 years as a UP law professor, Sereno failed to file her SALN 11 times,” Calida said in a statement.
“If Sereno indeed filed her SALNs, why can’t she just produce them?” Calida asked,
Sereno earlier claimed that Calida’s confirmation that he obtained SALNs himself proved that she indeed filed her SALNs, contrary to the solicitor general’s claim in his quo warranto petition.
Lawyer Josalee Deinla, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said that at least 11 of the 21 missing SALNs had been found by Sereno before Calida submitted these to the Supreme Court on March 27, 2018.
Deinla said the fact that Calida himself confirmed that he had obtained the SALNs himself proved that the Chief Justice had indeed filed her UP SALNs contrary to solicitor general’s claim in his petition.
In a separate statement, Deinla said Sereno remains unfazed by the impeachment case and quo warranto petition against her.
“Chief Justice Sereno is determined to fight the impeachment case and the quo warranto petition filed against her with the Supreme Court. This means that all her efforts are focused on the issues at hand. Any insinuation about her supposed plan in the future is nothing but a distraction to sow intrigue and confuse the public,” Deinla said in a statement.
“Let’s keep our eyes on the ball and stay focused on the issues behind the coordinated attempts to oust the chief justice,” she added.
Earlier, Sereno sought the dismissal of the case, arguing that the SC has no jurisdiction and authority to remove her from office because the 1987 Constitution provides that she can only be ousted by impeachment in Congress.
During the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition in Baguio City on April 10, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio directed both parties to submit their respective memoranda and pertinent documents on or before April 20.
Deinla said Monday there are no politicians involved in a pro-Sereno alliance.
“These are private individuals, civil society organizations who joined the Coalition for Justice out of their own will, and there are no politicians behind this coalition,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino at a forum in Manila.
She said not even former President Benigno Aquino III, who appointed Sereno as chief justice in 2012, has expressed his support to the embattled top judge.
“I can confidently and categorically state that there’s no support from the former administration… They come from all colors, from all sectors or segments of the political spectrum,” she said.
The Coalition for Justice has staged several protest actions voicing their support for Sereno. They were even in Baguio City last week on the day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the petition that questions the validity of Sereno’s appointment.
Members of the Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives and Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. have also expressed support for Sereno.
Deinla said the chief justice is not considering running for the Senate in 2019, claiming she is focused on her defense against the “coordinated attempts” to kick her out of office—the impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives and the quo warranto petition filed by Calida with the Supreme Court.