Monday, April 30, 2018

Coalition For Justice calls on SolGen Calida to step down from his post due to double standard against Sereno

Solicitor General Jose Calida photo file (ctto)

Manila, Philippines - On Monday, group of concerned citizens advocating rule of law and judicial independence rallied on Solicitor General Jose Calida to step down from his post.

The Coalition For Justice (CFJ) called on Calida after he rejected the call of a private citizen for him to initiate another quo warranto petition, this time, for Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, whom they accused of ineligible to hold her post due to failure to also submit her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).

CFJ accused Calida of double standard for questioning the integrity of Sereno based on her supposed missing SALNs which she had actually filed, while letting De Castro get away with it.

“What we see here at work is a blatant double standard. Operating here is a policy of injustice where friends are protected and foes are prosecuted; where lies are spun to defend or attack; where the selective application of law is key,” the group said in a statement.

A certain citizen named Jocelyn Marie F. Acosta requested for a quo warranto petition against De Castro for the same reason as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno -- failure to submit complete statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

However, Calida denied Acosta’s request for lack of merit.

“At the onset, let it be clear that the Office of the Solicitor General did not file the Petition for Quo Warranto against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno because of Atty. Mallari's letter. Sereno's eligibility was brought to our attention when it was found out in the course of the impeachment proceedings before the House of Representatives that she did not file her SALNs/ as required by the Judicial Bar Council for the position of Chief Justice at that time,” Calida explained.

In Acosta’s letter to Calida, she said De Castro is lacking integrity after she submitted only her 15 SALNs when she applied for the Chief Justice post in 2012.

"The rule vests on the Solicitor General the discretion to commence an action for quo warranto, if he has good reason to believe that the case can be established by proof. Your letter, however, does not advert to any supporting evidence. It is basic that evidence is the means to proof; proof is the result of evidence,” read the response letter of Calida.

The solicitor general added that Acosta’s comparison on the cases of Sereno and De Castro has no basis.

"Justice De Castro, who is subject of your request, was appointed to the Supreme Court on December 4, 2007. The argument which the OSG propounded against Sereno does not apply to Justice De Castro since it was Sereno who was appointed as the Chief Justice without the qualifications back in 2012," Calida explained.

Accordingly, the Rule 66 of the Rules of the Court states that a quo warranto petition may be initiated by the solicitor general only when "directed by the President of the Philippines, or when upon complaint or otherwise he has good reason to believe that any case specified in the preceding section can be established by proof, must commence such action."

Source: PNA