MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) decided on Monday, August 20 to postpone the short list vote for the highest court because they need more time to check the submitted documents from applicants, including their asset statements and Net Worth (SALN).
"The JBC has been postponed today and had to be continued on Friday, August 24 to give the JBC and banc more time to investigate the documents, including SALN & # 39; s submitted by the nominees," said Minister of Justice Menardo Guevarra, ex-official member of the JBC.
The JBC comes from a tumultuous period in which it was accidentally accused of not noticing shortcomings in the SALN & # 39; s of Maria Lourdes Sereno. The Supreme Court finally adjourned Sereno for failing to submit SALN & # 39; s and declared her unfit to be a candidate for the Supreme Court in 2012 from the very beginning.
The JBC would vote on Monday, but onlookers would have to wait 4 days for the long-awaited shortlist. President Rodrigo Duterte has until 19 September to appoint a Chief Justice, because the position can not be vacant for more than 90 days, as imposed by the Constitution.
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During the public interviews on 16 August, JBC members asked the applicants some questions about their SALN & # 39; s and other required documents.
For example, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin was questioned about the increase in his wealth. JBC member Milagros Fernan-Cayosa asked for a condominium unit that was only declared after full payment.
"I only reported when we completed the payment, when you still pay for the installment, it is not yet up to you to explain, maybe I was wrong, but that's how I did it, the SC compliance committee has my attention not drawn to it if it was a mistake, "Bersamin said.
Employee Justice Diosdado Peralta, on the other hand, was asked about property and real estate under his name and his wife, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Audrey Peralta.
Cayosa noted that over the years there were "significant increases" in Peralta's net worth, with the years 2016 to 2017 recording a jump of P5 million.
Like Bersamin, Peralta also said that important grants from electoral courts and fees of colleges caused the increases. Both also became chairmen of the Bar Examinations, who paid "more than P1.7 million", according to Peralta.
Peralta also said that he received a "surprise lump sum" from the Social Security System (SSS) when he was a private practitioner and then a professor in his younger years.
JBC member retired judge Toribio Ilao asked Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro about various properties that are located under a Teresita de Castro.
De Castro denied possession in Manila, Laguna and Baguio, and said that everything she has is her home Parañaque.
Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., on the other hand, was asked why he did not announce his company shares in a bakery store for his 2015 SALN.
Saying that the confectionery is a family business, Reyes said: "I do not know if we have closed that company, or I have forgotten to mention it, but it has been a family business for the past 20 years."
Reyes had a "significant decline" in his P18 million capital, which, according to the court, was due to the application of new rules for public service.
"What has to be declared in the SALN is the acquisition value and not the real value," Reyes said. He added that he will review his SALNs to ensure that they apply the rules uniformly. – Rappler.com