August 27, 2012 · Posted in: General
WHEN THEN SUPREME COURT Chief Justice Renato Corona was convicted by the Senate impeachment court on May 29, 2012, many saw a chance for the high tribunal to make a dramatic shift in its culture of secrecy.
Corona was, after all, impeached and convicted for failing to fully disclose all the facts of his wealth in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) that all government officials and employees are required to submit every year. Corona’s prosecution by the House of Representatives and eventual conviction by the Senate made everything pretty clear – this offense was to be considered a culpable violation of the Constitution and a betrayal of the public trust.
Yet until last week, court employees say the SALN records of the justices of the Supreme Court and all other court officials and employees remain under lock and key. The high court has professed transparency by dangling guidelines for the disclosure of SALNs, only to make the guidelines so regressive they constrain more than enable access.
Too, the House, so eager to impose the strictest of transparency standards on the former Chief Justice, to this day refuses to apply the same standards on all its members.
In the last of our two-part report on Transparency, Asset Records, and the New Chief Justice, PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas looks into how the Supreme Court continues to evade demands for full transparency a full quarter since its former head was ousted. Last week, his successor, the Philippines’ first woman chief magistrate, Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, was sworn into office.
Read the second part of that report here.