Sereno camp: 12 out of 16 SALNs found

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — The camp of Maria Lourdes Sereno said they have found 12 of the 16 missing statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) of the former Chief Justice as they seek the reversal of the Supreme Court's ouster ruling.

"This is a clear indication that the Chief Justice has been filing her SALNs," Sereno's spokesperson Carlo Cruz said in a press briefing on Thursday.

This means the camp found one more SALN between April and May since they announced last April 12 that they recovered 11 SALNs.

Only four SALNs have yet to be recovered - for the years 1992, 2000, 2003, and 2006 - but this does not mean she did not file them, Sereno's camp maintained. Sereno was a law professor at the University of the Philippines from 1986 to 2006, prior to her appointment to the Chief Justice post in 2012.

"Sana po ay maconsider na ito po ay isang indikasyon na hindi naman po sinuway ni Chief Justice Sereno itong legal requirement na ito," Cruz added.

[Translation: 'We hope the Supreme Court will consider this as an indication that the former Chief Justice did not violate this legal requirement."]

Sereno's lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion for reconsideration to appeal the High Court's historic May 11 ruling that ousted a Chief Justice without a Senate trial for the first time.

"The filing per se of a SALN neither proves nor negates a person's integrity," the 205-page motion read.

Sereno's camp also said no other public official was removed from office over non-submission of SALN, although this is required by law under Article 11, Section 17 of the Constitution.

It states, "A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth."

Sereno, one of the youngest top judges in history, could have been the country's longest-serving Chief Justice with a two-decade term that would end in 2030. She was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012, but caught the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte when she expressed concern over the drug war. Duterte had declared himself an enemy of Sereno.

The high court's granting of the quo warranto petition filed by the government's top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, is highly contested, as senators and many in the legal community maintain that impeachment is the only way to unseat a Chief Justice. An impeachment was underway in Congress, but is now considered moot after the Supreme Court decision.

CNN Philippines' Regine Cabato contributed to this report.