…Dahil matanda na? Makakalimutin?
Kinuwestiyon ng veteran investigative journalist na si Raissa Robles ang palusot ni Chief Justice Teresita de Castro sa Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) na nasunog umano ang Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) nito mula December 1, 1978 hanggang September 22, 1997.
Ayon kay De Castro, nawala ang kanyang personal files kasama ang 1978-1997 SALNs sa nangyaring sunog sa Department of Justice noong “late 1996 or early 1997”.
“Justice De Castro submitted a letter dated July 17, 2012 with the attached SALNs for 16 years covering the period 1997 to 2011, from the time she became an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan on September 23, 1997 until December 2011 as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She also disclosed that her SALN from February 19, 1973 until November 30, 1978 which she filed during her employment in the Supreme Court, could no longer be located. She also disclosed that her personal files, including her SALNs that she filed while employed at the Department of Justice from December 1, 1978 to September 22, 1997, were among those burned when the third floor of the DOJ was gutted by fire in late 1996 or early 1997. In any case, upon inquiry from the CSC, she was told that her SALNs filed as DOJ employee were already disposed of, as it was way beyond the statutory ten (10) – year period.”
Sa pag-iimbestiga ni Robles, lumalabas na imposibleng kasamang naabo mula sa nangyaring sunog sa DOJ ang 1996 at 1997 SALNs ni De Castro kung nangyari ito noong December 11, 1995.
“The actual date of the fire has serious implications on the truthfulness of De Castro’s excuse for missing some SALNs,” ani Robles.
“CJ De Castro should have filed her SALN for the year 1995 between January 1 to April 30, 1996 or after the December 11, 1995 DOJ fire. CJ De Castro should have filed her SALN for the year 1996 between January 1 and April 30, 1997 or two years after the December 11, 1995 DOJ fire,” dagdag pa ni Robles.
Ayon sa source ni Robles, ang personnel department ng DOJ kung saan nakatambak ang mga SALN ay hindi nadamay sa sunog dahil nasa ibang building ito.
“Government sources explained to me that at that time, SALNs at the DOJ were filed with the personnel department which was located in a separate building which did not burn down in the 1995 fire,” ani Robles.
Quo Warranto vs Sereno
Inungkat ni Robles ang concurring opinion ni De Castro sa quo warranto petition laban kay dating Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno na nag-ugat sa nawawalang 2002-2006 SALNs.
“The evidence on record shows that respondent [Sereno] was unable to submit her SALN s for 2002 to 2006 to the JBC as required for applicants for the Supreme Court Chief Justice vacancy in 2012 and she deliberately deceived and misled the JBC so as to secure her inclusion in the shortlist of candidates for the vacancy in the said position, despite her noncompliance with the SALN requirement mandated by the Constitution, the law, and implementing rules,” ani De Castro.
“Considering the foregoing, respondent’s appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, secured through her lies and deception in the entries in her sworn PDS [personal data sheet] and regarding her non-compliance with the above mentioned SALN requirement of the JBC, is void ab initio, and for such reason, I vote to GRANT the Petition for Quo Warranto,” dagdag pa ni De Castro.
Ipinunto ni Robles na noong maupo si De Castro sa Sandiganbayan bilang presiding judge noong September 23, 1997, wala itong SALN.
“When De Castro joined the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on September 23, 1997—after 24 years of uninterrupted government service—she had NO SALN WHATSOEVER in her possession,” ani Robles.
“It’s quite unusual for a former justice department official without SALNs to be appointed a Sandiganbayan judge because this court has the sole jurisdiction for convicting government officials and employees who don’t file or lie about their SALNs,” dagdag pa ni Robles.