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CJ failed to comply on JBC requirements yet landed top SC post

The truth is now coming to fore.
Not only then applicant to the top post in the Supreme Court, associate SC associate justice Lourdes Sereno got herself appointed by the JBC but she even did get the post despite her having failed to comply with the strict requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
She failed to submit all her Statement of Assets and Liablities (SALN).
This was bared by two SC justices who testified before the House committee impeachment hearing on Sereno.
The two justices made it clear that Chief Justice Sereno should not have been included in the list of nominees of the JBC for the position of high magistrate in 2012, as she was not able to comply with all the requirements needed in the application.
SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta said there was a “very clear deviation” from the existing rules of the JBC with regard to the application of the current chief justice. He was the presiding justice at the JBC at that time.
SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro said that it was a “grave injustice” to them as fellow candidates for the post of chief justice for including Sereno in the list despite failing to comply with all the requirements.
“I believe that grave njustice was done to us, the other candidates or the other applicants for the position of chief justice,” she said.
Peralta said that Sereno had requested to be excluded from the requirement of submission of the SALN.
The JBC evidently changed its rules, just to include Sereno in the list for submission to the president.
A certificate of clearance, he added, was submitted to prove that there were SALNs, but he said it was “putting the blame” on the University of the Philippines in the non-presentation of the SALN.
“This is not the certificate of clearance in order to escape one from filing, in order to be free from filing a SALN. The clearance that is required under the law is provided for in Article 218, that if you are a public official and you are resigning, then you are required to secure a clearance or any accountability. So it has nothing to do with RA 6713,” Peralta said.

“So by that alone, I could have rejected or objected as chairman of the inclusion of the chief justice for the position of the chief justice,” he added.
Justice de Castro, for her part, stressed that the JBC had required the candidates to submit all previous SALNs up to December 31, 2011 and a waiver in favor of the body of the confidentiality of local and foreign currency bank accounts under the Bank Secrecy Law and Foreign Currency Deposit Act.
“All of us complied with this requirement which was reduced to 10 years with respect to the SALN to be submitted. And also we executed a waiver of the secrecy of our deposit, and the purpose of that waiver is for the JBC to compare our bank records with the SALN,” she said.
“So it is very important that the applicants will submit their SALN because how can you compare the bank deposit if the SALN are not submitted,” she added.
De Castro added that tthe JBC had announced at that that candidates with incomplete or out of date documentary requirements will not be interviewed or considered for nomination.
“Why is it that the JBC allowed the inclusion of then-associate justice Sereno in the applicants to be interviewed. She should have been excluded also from the interview, but she was interviewed!” she said.
JBC manipulates
JBC Executive Director Atty. Annaliza Ty-Capacite, however, said the application process was different at that time.
“The executive committee members do not determine yet whether a candidate should be included or excluded because of [lack of] requirements,” she said.
“Those lacking requirements will still be interviewed or be given another deadline,” she added.
Capacite explained that the applicant had “substantially complied” with the requirements for the position despite failure to submit SALNs for a period of time if “there is an attempt to comply.
Peralta said that on July 23, 2012 Sereno wrote to the JBC asking for her exemption from the 10-year SALN submission rule. However, Peralta—who presided over the JBC proceedings for nomination to the post of Chief Justice— said the letter was not presented to the JBC en banc.
Justice Peralta said that had he known about the letter, he would have objected to Sereno’s nomination for the post.
Peralta added that the results of the psychiatric evaluation of Sereno, where she received a low grade of 4, was likewise not presented to the JBC en banc.
Peralta said that the JBC treatment of Sereno was in stark contrast with that of his wife when she applied for the position of Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals. Peralta said that her application was rejected supposedly because her NBI clearance and medical records were unvalidated. He said that even after her wife submitted the proper documents the JBC rejected her application.
On the other hand, Peralta said, there were other candidates from the post coming from the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Appeals who were considered for the post merely after the JBC called them up.
Peralta accused CJ Sereno of manipulating the JBC to reject his wife’s application as CA Presiding Justice.
Atty. Annaliza Capacite, a regular member of the JBC, claimed that during that time there was no requirement for candidates to vacant judicial posts to submit all their SALN. She said that Sen. Chiz Escudero suggested that an attempt to comply with the requirement may be considered “substantial compliance.”
Chairman Umali noted that Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached because he failed to include in his SALN some of his properties. Likewise, he pointed out that in a recent case the SC had ordered the dismissal of a judge for non-filing of SALN.
De Castro pointed out that since Corona was removed from office for failure to declare some of his properties, the JBC had become strict when it comes to the submission of SALN by applicants particularly to the vacant SC post. However, the JBC later relaxed its rules and considered the submission of the SALN for the past 10 years as substantial compliance with the requirement.
De Castro said that for non-submission of her SALN, Sereno should not even have been interviewed by the JBC.
Upon questioning by Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia, Atty. Capacite eventually admitted that it was the JBC execom that decided to trim down the number of nominees from around 40 to 20—including Sereno—and submitted the long list to the JBC en banc for its consideration.
Atty. Capacite admitted that 4 other senior SC justices who applied for the post submitted their SALN for at least 10 years: Justice Antonio Carpio, 14 years; De Castro, 15; Presbitero Velasco, Jr., 19; and Arturo Brion, 10. She said another SC Justice, Roberto Abad, did not submit all of his 10 years of SALN
However, Justice Peralta noted that Abad could not submit ten years of SALN because the latter had left government service for over a decade until he was appointed to the SC in 2010.
Atty. Maria Milagros Cayosa, a regular JBC member, confirmed Peralta’s statement that Sereno’s July 23, 2012 letter was never presented to the JBC en banc.
Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia said it was clear that there was special treatment for CJ Sereno.
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno maintained that she had complied with all the requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), including the submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), when she was being considered for the top judicial post in 2012.
“The fact that the JBC shortlisted the Chief Justice means its members, including Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta who was then the acting chair, found her documentary submissions complete and compliant with the rules,” lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said.
At the time the JBC was screening the candidates for Chief Justice in 2012, Lacanilao noted that Sereno submitted three SALNs which she filed since she was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2010.
The SALNs covered the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. Sereno was in private practice prior to her appointment to the high court.
Testifying before the House Committee on Justice on Monday,

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