The Office of the Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to deny its request for the release of Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net worth for purposes of preparing a possible quo warranto petition against the third most senior magistrate of the 15-member bench.
In a motion for reconsideration, the OSG through Solicitor General Jose Calida, appealed to the SC to reconsider and set aside its previous ruling that denied the release of Leonen’s SALN for the sake of transparency and in compliance with the constitutional provision guaranteeing the citizen’s right to information.
“The Solicitor General is making the request for purposes of possible court action as he represents the State in prosecuting actions for Quo Warranto,” the motion stated.
“The 1987 Constitution, particularly Section 7, Article III, of the 1987 Constitution on the right to information and section 28 of Article II, requires full disclosure of the SALNs of Associate Justice Leonen,” it said.
The OSG’s motion dated October 22, 2020 seeks the reconsideration of the Court’s decision dated September 15, 2020, which denied its request for the disclosure of the certified copies of SALN of Justice Leonen for the years 1990 to 2011. It was signed by Calida and several OSG Assistants Solicitor General and Solicitors,
“Wherefore, premises considered, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, respectfully prays that: 1. the Resolution dated September 15, 2020 be reconsidered and set aside. 2. a new Resolution be issued granting the OSG’s letter requests dated September 11, 2020 seeking copies of the SALNs and/or ancillary documents and information,” the document reads.
The chief state lawyer stressed that “the outright prohibition to disclose the SALNs of Associate Justice Leonen is contrary to the spirit and intent of Republic Act 6713 and its implementing rules and regulations which promotes full access of the public to SALN, though the same may be heavily regulated.”
The Solicitor General insisted the public must be given access to the SALNs and cannot be prohibited under the guise of a regulation.
Besides, Calida argued that the OSG request conformed with the guidelines which the SC itself had set under AM No. 09-8-6-C.
Leonen was appointed SC justice in November 2012. Before his appointment to the high court, he was a professor of the University of the Philippines College of Law until he became the chairman of the GRP Peace Panel during the Aquino administration.
Lawyer Larry Gadon also made a similar plea and argued that there was already a precedent on this case after he initiated the impeachment complaint against then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Gadon said he also made the same request for the certified copies of the SALN of Sereno and was granted by the SC on August 15, 2017.
“As a precedent, it is on record that the undersigned also filed the same request for certified copies of Atty. Lourdes Sereno’s SALNs which the Honorable Court granted in its Order on August 15, 2017 . The Certified true copies released to the undersigned were used as one of the grounds for the impeachment case against Atty. Lourdes Sereno which was filed by the undersigned on August 31, 2017 . The release of the certified copies of SALNs was granted by the Honorable Supreme Court much prior to the filing of the impeachment case,” Gadon said.