SolGen: Sereno committed 'falsehoods' in SALNs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — The government's top lawyer claimed the embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno committed a "litany of falsehoods" in her asset declarations.

In a written reply to Sereno's earlier comment, Solicitor General Jose Calida listed alleged discrepancies in the top magistrate's Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).

Calida said Sereno's 1998 SALN was only filed in 2003, or five years beyond the period required by law.

He added her 2009 SALN was belatedly filed in June 2012.

His reply also stated that Sereno's 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."

Calida said Sereno's 2006 SALN was signed only on July 27, 2010, the same day she submitted it to the Judicial Bar and Council (JBC). He also noted it was not notarized and did not bear a stamp receipt from the University of the Philippines where Sereno was a professor.

"It appears that she fabricated her 2006 SALN in an attempt to submit a SALN to the JBC during her application for Associate Justice in 2010," Calida said.

Sereno's 2011 SALN was also not signed by her husband, he added.

Lastly, Calida said Sereno failed to declare P15,000-worth of jewelry in her 1990 SALN. She said the pieces were acquired from 1986 to 1991.

"These are perjurious acts that bolster her utter lack of integrity," Calida said. "Respondent undermined the sanctity of the SALN by regarding it as mere formality."

In the same statement, Calida said the argument that other justices also failed to file all of their SALNs is "absolutely of no relevance" to the quo warranto petition against Sereno.

READ: SolGen to Sereno: Other justices' 'missing' SALNs not relevant to your case

In her March 20 comment on Calida's quo warranto petition, Sereno said the submission of all SALNs to the JBC was not an "absolute requirement" for those vying for chief justice.

She said she was not the only candidate for the position who did not submit all asset declarations to the JBC. She specifically named fellow justices, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, and retired Justices Arturo Brion and Roberto Abad as among those who failed to submit one or more SALNs.

Carpio and De Castro, like Sereno, were deemed by the JBC to have "substantially complied" to the SALN requirement, said Josa Deinla, one of Sereno's spokespersons.

Deinla added: "The fact that JBC waived its requirement of submission of all previous SALNs proves that "there is no basis for the quo warranto petition against CJ Sereno."

READ: Sereno camp: JBC required chief justice candidates to submit all past SALNs

Calida had earlier asked the Supreme Court, through a quo warranto petition, to declare Sereno's appointment invalid over her alleged failure to fully disclose her wealth.

At least three groups, including minority lawmakers, have filed interventions before the Supreme Court seeking the dismissal of the petition.

The House Committee on Justice has included Sereno's alleged SALN violations among the articles of impeachment against her.

The embattled Chief Justice said she would present all her recovered SALNs before the Senate impeachment court.