Emerging from hibernation, the fake chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno tried to leap into a moral pedestal she does not deserve as she accused President Rody Duterte of “killing the Philippine Constitution” in a speech in time for the People Power celebration.
The Sereno fusillade also assailed who she called as “silent Duterte critics,” who she claimed refuses to confront Rody. She apparently was expressing the frustration of the yellow mob in another epic fail, which was the “Oust Duterte” rally at Edsa, where she was supposed to deliver an address, which mobilized not more than 50.
The thin line of opponents of Rody must have spent too much of their energy in the ABS-CBN rally that happened the night of 21 February that, based on the plan, should have spilled into next day’s People Power celebration — only the people component in their plot had largely dropped off.
So, Sereno instead, during a forum on Lawfare held at the De La Salle University in Manila, accused Rody of running an “anti-reason and anti-science government,” whatever that is.
“Some sectors refuse to confront the President for his misdirection of the country, while they privately object to this President’s attack against reason, science and God. They mistakenly believe that appeasing him will make him reasonable, science-respecting and open to notions of God and the good,” Sereno somnambulated.
Sereno would be the last person to be believable when it comes to upholding the law, since she was ousted in 2018 in an unprecedented quo warranto move by Solicitor General Jose Calida based on allegations that she violated the religious submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) required of public officials.
Calida’s move was upheld by the Supreme Court (SC) in an 8-6 vote.
It was during the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition that her peers established that she was a liar.
During the interpellation of Sereno, then Associate Justice Teresita de Castro, who later became Chief Justice, pressed on Sereno’s failure to submit copies of her SALN. Sereno, however, went on to insist that she had filed the documents, but she can’t simply find copies of these.
De Castro, who saw through her lies, accused Sereno of violating Section 7 of Republic Act 3019, which requires every public officer to file their SALN within 30 days after assuming office, and within the month of January of every other year thereafter.
“You’re making a lot of excuses for not filing your SALN… You are blaming everyone. But the point is, have you religiously filed your SALN?” De Castro asked Sereno.
De Castro was referring to Sereno’s failure to provide the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) copies of her SALN, which she was supposed to have filed while she was still working at the University of the Philippines.
She submitted to the JBC in 2010 her 2006 SALN despite the requirement for the submission of her latest financial disclosure. The JBC is the recommending body for vacancies in the judiciary.
Sereno’s excuse was that the only available form online then was for 2006. She added that she tried to rectify the form she submitted, but Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza then noted Sereno was merely making excuses.
“It seems to me you are layering a lot of reasons about why you did not file. You are not presenting us evidence to the contrary, your assertion is that you filed,” Jardeleza said.
Sereno then insisted that she could no longer find copies of her SALN, insisting that she consistently filed such documents as required by law.
Associate Justice Noel Tijam also said, “You filed but couldn’t find them, you were not reminded, or the others also did not file. The filing of a SALN is a constitutional and statutory requirement.”
Another excuse Sereno made during the orals was the fact that the JBC shortlisted her was proof that its members including then JBC ex-officio chair SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta found her to have “substantially complied” with all the requirements.
There were, however, indications that then President Aquino, who wanted to stack the SC with his allies, put pressure on the JBC to shortlist Sereno and thus pave the way for her appointment as SC head.
JBC records showed Sereno submitted three SALN, which she filed annually since she was appointed SC Associate Justice in 2010. The SALN covered the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. She was in private practice prior to her appointment to the High Court.
“Everything was done in good faith. If they (JBC members) found that my three SALN were not sufficient, they could have struck me out of the shortlist,” Sereno even claimed.
Sereno accusing Rody of making a mockery of the Constitution flies right on her face for being the proponent of deception in conspiring with Noynoy to oust the late Chief Justice Renato Corona and grab control of the judiciary.