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Saturday, 21 April 2018 00:00 Published in page one

The May 14 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election provides promising young leaders a level playing field through the anti-dynasty provision of the SK Reform Act, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.
“Sa ilalim ng bagong SK Reform Act, lahat ay mabibigyan ng pagkakataong manilbihan, lalo pa’t maipatutupad na sa unang pagkakataon ang probisyon kontra political dynasty, said Aquino in a radio interview yesterday, the last day for youth leaders to file their CoC in Comelec offices.
Co-sponsored and co-authored by Aquino during his term as chairman of the committee on youth in the 16th Congress, Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act is the first law in the country with an anti-political dynasty provision. It prohibits relatives of elected officials up to 2nd civil degree of consanguinity or affinity from seeking SK posts.
In past SK elections, Aquino said the usual winners were related to incumbent local officials, like mayor, vice mayor, councilors, barangay captains and barangay councilors.
“Ngayon, mabibigyan na ng patas na pagkakataon ang lahat na makapagsilbi sa bayan, kahit wala siyang impluwensiya o kamag-anak na nakaupo sa posisyon,” Aquino stressed.
The law adjusts the age limit for SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.
The SK Reform Act also requires SK officials to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.
The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.
The LYDC will be composed of representatives from the different youth organizations in the community—student councils, church and youth faith groups, youth-serving organizations and community-based youth groups.

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno appears resigned to her fate of either being ousted by the Supreme Court (SC) through Solictor-General Jose Calida quo warranto filed against her or resigning. But before she she makes the decision to be ousted or to resign, Sereno is not likely to leave gently, as her apparent vengeance against SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro was displayed yesterday, through one of her supporters.
A private citizen on Friday made it clear she wants the SolGen to also file a quo warranto case against Justice de Castro and question by what right de Castro has to hold her post over the same ground that has been charged by Calida against Sereno.
“As a citizen of this country and as a taxpayer, I humbly request that the Solicitor General urgently initiate quo warranto proceedings against Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro for lacking integrity as a member of the Supreme Court,” Jocelyn Marie Acosta, who admitted that she is a Sereno supporter, said in a four-page letter.

Citing records of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), Acosta alleged that de Castro submitted only 15 of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) over the course of a decades-long government career starting in 1973.
The JBC issued a certificate attesting to the fact that de Castro submitted 15 SALNs, while Acting CJ Antonio Carpio submitted to the JBC 14 of his SALNs, as certified by theJBC.
Sereno never asked the JBC to issue her the certification proving that she had submitted her SALNs.
But it was a JBC officer that testified before the House justice panel saying that Sereno had submitted only three of her SALNs, with two of them that were not notarized.
Then too, another important requirement is for applicants to submit their 10 year SALNs at the required time.
But the Sereno supporter said that “being in government service since 1973, Justice de Castro was bound to submit 39 SALNs, but failed to do so.”
The JBC requirement for applicants to the post of chief justice--that was vacated after the impeachment trial of then sitting Chief Justice Renato Corona, when the Senate Court convicted him on his failure to submit his accurate SALNs--is for the applicant to file with the JBC their SALNs for 10 years and on time.
Sereno merely submitted four SALNs, two of which were found unsubscribed. Moreover, there were other irregularities in her 2009 SALN, which she failed to explain during oral arguments.
Sereno is accused of a lack of integrity for alleged non-filing of several SALNs over a 20-year stint as a professor at the University of Philippines College of Law.
Calida questioned the validity of Sereno’s appointment as chief justice with the Supreme Court after Eligio Mallari, a suspended lawyer, wrote him a letter urging him to initiate quo warranto proceedings.
Said Acosta: “With due respect, I invoke the same grounds raised by Mr. Mallari in his letter as sufficient grounds for you to file a similar petition for quo warranto against Justice De Castro,” Acosta said in her letter to Calida.
“I anticipate that you would act with the same zeal as you did when you received the letter of Atty. Mallari in February 2018.”
Calida’s case against Sereno is nearing resolution, with Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio saying a decision may be reached before May ends.
Sereno demanded the recusal of de Castro and four other justices who had testified before he House impeachment hearings to recuse from hearing and deciding the case due to “bias” and “animosity,” but her motions for recusal against the five justices were denied.
Sereno and her supporters have been trying to convince the general public that she has been denied by the High Court her right by not giving her her day in court, despite the fact that she asked for, and got, oral arguments, where her side was heard publicly.
It is also Sereno’s way of portraying her case as unfair as she has also complained at the speed her quo warranto case is being decided on with speed.
SolGen Calida said in defending his case against Sereno. quoting her in the PS Bank v. Senate Impeachment Court, stressing that Sereno herself said in her dissenting opinionthat “those who accept a public office do so cum onere, or with a burden, and are considered as accepting its burdens and obligations, together with its benefits.”
“They thereby subject themselves to all constitutional and legislative provisions relating thereto, and undertake to perform all the duties of their office. The public has the right to demand the performance of those duties,” Calida added further quoting Sereno in the 81-page memorandum he submitted to the High Court.

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