The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) required all applicants for the position of chief justice in 2012 to submit “all” previous Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) up to December 31, 2011, the camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said on Tuesday.
But the JBC “ended up waiving such requirement after 14 of the candidates could not comply,” Sereno’s spokesperson Josa Deinla said in a statement.
She said Sereno wished to correct the “misconception” that the JBC had imposed a 10-year SALN requirement after two Supreme Court justices made public their respective certifications from the JBC that they submitted at least 10 SALNs when they also applied for the top judicial post in 2011.
“We want to clarify that in 2012 the JBC did not merely require 10 years, but all previous SALNs up to 31 December 2011 for those in government,” Deinla said, citing a JBC announcement on the vacancy of the chief justice post in 2012 that was published in newspapers.
At the time, the spokesperson said, the 2012 JBC announcement stated that the candidates for chief justice, in addition to other requirements, must submit “all previous SALNs (up to 31 December 2011) for those in the government or SALN as of 31 December 2011 from those from the private sector.”
In 2012, Associate Justices Teresita De Castro and then Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio were also candidates to replace Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed from his post following his conviction by the Senate impeachment court.
“They both failed to meet the JBC requirement of all SALNs, along with Sereno and 11 other candidates,” Deinla said of De Castro and Carpio.
De Castro and Carpio both publicly released certifications from the JBC that they submitted at least 10 years of their SALN filings.
Records would show that De Castro has been in government service since 1973, thus under the JBC original requirement, she was bound to submit 39 SALNs. However, she could only submit 15 SALNs, Deinla said.
In the case of Carpio, he submitted to the JBC his SALNs when he was a member of the high court from 2001-2012 but he could not complete his SALN submissions when he was Chief Presidential Legal Counsel from 1992-1996. He could only submit to the JBC his SALNs for 1992-1994.
As a result, the minutes of the July 20, 2012 JBC meeting stated that Carpio and De Castro were among those deemed to have “substantially complied.”
In Sereno’s case, she submitted to the JBC her 2009-2012 SALNs which she filed as SC Associate Justice. She resigned from the University of the Philippines in 2006 and went into private practice until her appointment to the high court in 2010, the statement said.
With respect to her UP SALNs, Sereno told the JBC that since her records were more than 15 years old, it was not feasible for her to retrieve all the documents, according to Deinla.