Over alleged non-submission of SALN
A LAWYER on Friday expressed optimism that Solicitor General Jose Calida will act favorably on his letter-request urging the official to file a quo warranto petition seeking the removal of Supreme Court (SC) Justice Mario Victor “Marvic” Leonen from his post over alleged non-submission of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Atty. Larry Gadon recalled it was Calida’s petition for quo warranto that voided Maria Lourdes Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice over her non-filing of SALN for six years.
“I am confident that Solicitor General Calida will grant my request,” 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.
Gadon has already sent a letter to Calida urging the Solicitor General to file a quo warranto petition against Leonen like what he 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 (University of the Philippines) 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.
It was Manila Times columnist Rigoberto “Bobi” D. Tiglao who bared in his column that Leonen had allegedly failed to submit his SALN for 15 years.
In his Manila Times column, Tiglao claimed Leonen had allegedly “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.”
“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 an 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,” said Tiglao.
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.
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.”
On June 19, 2018, the SC voted 8-6 affirming its earlier ruling on Calida’s petition, effectively throwing out Sereno’s motion for reconsideration to overturn its decision on the legal challenge to her appointment as Chief Justice.
The SC said Sereno lacked the integrity to lead the Higher Court on account of her failure to file “a substantial number” of SALNs and her failure to submit as required the SALNs to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) during her application for the judiciary’s top post.