CITING as a precedent the case of then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, lawyer Larry Gadon on Saturday said he expects the Supreme Court (SC) to act on Tuesdsy —at the earliest — on his request to make public the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
“At the earliest, I think the Supreme Court will grant my request on Tuesday next week,” said Gadon.
Republic Act (RA) No. 6713 of 1989 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees requires all state officials and employees to file their yearly SALNs.
Manila Times columnist Rigoberto “Bobi” D. Tiglao had alleged in his column that Leonen had failed to submit his SALN for 15 years.
In his column, Tiglao also alleged Leonen “failed to file his SALN for 15 years from the time he joined the University of the Philippines (UP) faculty from 1989 to 2003 and for the years 2008 to 2009.”
Last Wednesday, the SC received the letter-request of Gadon dated September 7 asking the High Tribunal to disclose Leonen’s SALNs to the public.
“This is to respectfully request for certified copies of the SALNs of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen for the years 1990 to 2011, the SALNs required to be submitted upon his application to the Supreme Court, and a certification from your good office on the lacking years if any,” said Gadon in his letter-request to SC en banc Clerk of Court Edgardo Aricheta.
Gadon recalled that his request was not new, explaining there was a precedent when his similar letter asking for the SALNs of Sereno was granted by SC on August 15, 2017.
Later, Gadon said he used the documents in filing the impeachment complaint against Sereno on August 31, 2017.
“As a precedent, it is on record that the undersigned also filed the same request for certified copies of Atty. Lourdes Sereno’s SALNs which the honorable Supreme Court granted in its order dated August 15, 2017. The certified true copies released to the undersigned were used as one of the grounds for the impeachment case against Atty. Lourdes Sereno, which was filed by the undersigned on August 31, 2017,” Gadon recalled.
Earlier, Gadon expressed optimism that Solicitor General Jose Calida will act favorably on his separate letter-request urging the official to file a quo warranto petition seeking the removal of Leonen from his post over alleged non-submission of SALN.
Gadon recalled it was Calida’s petition for quo warranto that voided Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice for six years’ non-filing of her SALN.
He has already sent a letter asking Calida to file a quo warranto petition against Leonen like what the Solicitor General did in the ouster of Sereno as the top judge of the Philippines.
“If Sereno was ousted from the Supreme Court due to lack of integrity as exemplified by her non filing of SALNs in UP for many years, then there is no reason why the same standard should not be applied to AJ Leonen,” Gadon said in his letter to Calida dated September 7.
“I therefore respectfully urge and request the Office of the Solicitor General to institute Quo Warranto proceedings against AJ Leonen,” Gadon added.
“The Central Records Division of the Office of the Ombudsman reported that they have on file only Leonen’s SALNs for the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Civil Service Commission’s Resolution 1500088 of 2015 ordered all state universities (and several other state entities) to turn over all the SALNs submitted to it to the ombudsman,” Tiglao said in his column.
He said it was the Office of the Ombudsman’s response to his freedom of information request under Executive Order (EO) No. 2 of 2016 that he had filed.
Tiglao claimed that “Leonen joined the state university faculty in 1989 and since then had been there in various capacities, even as vice president for legal affairs in 2005 and UP Law School dean in 2008, which means he had not submitted his SALNs from 1989 to 2003, and for 2008 and 2009 — a total of 15 years. He left UP in July 2010 to become the government’s chief negotiator with the insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He was appointed to the high court on Nov. 21, 2012.”
“I wrote a letter August 24 to Leonen, coursed through Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, which asked him if indeed he failed to file his SALNs for these 15 years. Marquez confirmed Leonen’s receipt of my letter,” Tiglao said.
“Leonen didn’t reply to me. It was instead the Supreme Court’s Chief of Public Information Brian Hosaka, after acknowledging receipt by Leonen of my letter, who replied as follows: Due to their constitutional functions which require strict independence and impartiality on all matters brought before them, not all members of the judiciary may be obliged to personally assist or advise you on your research regardless if it may lead to praise or criticism of their person or work, or the person or work of another judge or justice. Personal information about judges and justices are either privileged or are covered by specific processes provided for by the constitution, laws or court resolutions,” said Tiglao.