Missing the point

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EMBATTLED Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno claims she has no hidden wealth and that no one can get wealthy teaching at the University of the Philippines.

That’s her defense on allegations she failed to submit 10 years of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) as required by the Judicial and Bar Council when she applied for the top post in the Judiciary.

Unlike other applicants who complied with the JBC requirement, Sereno filed only 3 of her SALN.

The hearings of the House committee on Justice on the impeachment case against her revealed that only the 2002 SALN of Sereno is on file at the UP Human Resource Development Office despite teaching at the university from ‎2000-2009. Similarly, the Office of the Ombudsman said they only have the same SALN of Sereno on file.

The magnitude of such non-compliance has prompted her fellow justices to demand that Sereno go on indefinite leave.

Sereno’s quip is off the mark. The issue is not hidden wealth. The issue is the non-submission of SALN, which is required for all JBC applicants. All civil servants too are required under the law to file their SALN every year.

Such comment from Sereno characterizes her attitude towards the charges raised in the impeachment case against her.

Instead of facing them squarely, she hems and haws and then makes off-tangent responses.

That brings to mind a variation of a quip that became popular in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the SALN, stupid.”

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