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House panel tasks BIR to look into Sereno’s possible tax liabilities

Since the missing Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno remain missing, the House committee on justice that has been holding hearings on the impeachment case against the top magistrate in the High Court has directed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to begin an investigation on the possible tax liabilities of Sereno, owing to her having failed to file her SALNs for 17 years when she was still a law professor at the University of the Philippines (UP). At the resumption of the impeachment hearing to determine probable cause on the complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno, panel chair Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa to produce a report on or before February 19 Sereno’s tax payments. Among the basis cited by Gadon in his complaint was Sereno’s alleged failure to declare in her SALN from 2010 to 2016 her earnings as one of the private counsels of the government in the expropriation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in the Piatco case amounting to P30 million. Based on documents Gadon was able to secure, Sereno reportedly filed her SALN in 1998, 2002 and 2006, even as she was employed as a professor by the UP College of Law from 1986 to 2006.Guballa, who submitted the Chief Justice’s income tax return from 2004 to 2009, said Sereno declared her income as a lawyer from a law office.Asked about Sereno’s income tax payments representing her earnings from the Piatco case, Gubala said they are still in the process of investigating this.“We can answer those questions when we will have conducted a formal investigation,” said Guballa, adding they will try to come up with a proposed deficiency or anything with regard to Sereno’s income in two weeks.“We are still collating information. We can answer those questions when we have conducted a formal investigation,” he said.“We will try our best in two weeks. . . . I will try my best to come up with a proposed deficiency or whatever we can made regarding the income the Chief Justice had made,” Guballa added.Sereno’s camp had said the Chief Justice received the Piatco fee in tranches so the full amount does not appear in her 2010 statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.The camp of Sereno had a statement explaining that “Chief Justice Sereno has accurately and properly declared all her earnings as government co-legal counsel in the PIATCO cases.”Lawyer Josa Deinla, serves as Sereno’s spokeswoman.Deinla added that the BIR has not served any deficiency assessment notice to Sereno during the years she filed her income tax returns.“This only means one thing: All her income tax filings when she was a private lawyer were accurate and proper,” she said.“We are confident that the plan of the House committee to have the CJ’s ITR filings looked into by the BIR would prove that the Chief Justice had paid the corresponding taxes for the income she earned while in private law practice,” she added.Gadon, in an interview at the sidelines of the hearing, lauded the order of the panel to the BIR saying this would bolster his complaint aganst Sereno.“First we got certifications she did not file her SALNs during her tenure with the UP College of Law. Now, we will get a clearer picture of how she might have avoided paying taxes for her earnings on the Piatco case,” said Gadon.“In fact, the statement of the BIR, CJ Sereno declared her earnings from 2004 to 2009 as income for her practice as a lawyer and not as a professor from a state university which is something she should have to explain, too,” the lawyer added.Gadon also said that the action of the justice committee directing the BIR to investigate the tax payments and tax compliance of Sereno is living proof of the principle that the law should apply to all, even to the highest magistrate of the land. Hearing on CJ’s IT consultantIt was also a time for the justice panel to hear from IT consultant Helen Macasaet, who has been paid hefty consultant fees, with a monthly paycheck much higher than what the Supreme Court justices get paid.Macasaet admitted before the committee that she was paid a hefty P250,000 a month as a consultant of the High Court, which is higher than what SC justices are earning.Macasaet defended her consultancy fee saying it was much lower than what she used to earn in her previous engagements.According to Macasaet, she used to earn P925,000 a month as an IT consultant for the GSIS. The House panel is on its 14th hearing on the impeachment case, this time, to determine if there was probable cause to impeach her.In a press statement issued by Gadon, it said that in the hearing conducted yesterday, it turned out that the IT contract of Macasaet was renewed without bidding despite changes in the terms of reference and increase of the amount of more than double the original contract. “It turned out also that the legal staff of Sereno had the whims and caprices of determining the amount of the increase and the renewals in violation of procurement laws . Worse, these violations and anomalies were done with the express approval of Sereno. Even worse , it turned out that the IT consultant was allowed to work at some point without the contract having been signed yet! All the procedures of procurement were clearly violated by Sereno, Gadon said.GMA Online reported that a court attorney from the office of the Chief Justice also yesterday during the hearing confirmed that it was the head staff of the high magistrate who had introduced the IT consultant allegedly anomalously hired by the Supreme Court.“At the resumption of the House Committee on Justice hearing, court lawyer Michael Ocampo from Sereno’s office admitted that he was the one who submitted the curriculum vitae of IT consultant Helen Macasaet who was allegedly hired by Sereno “with an excessive compensation and without public bidding.”He admitted that he submitted the CV of Macasaet to the BAC when he was requested to do so.But when asked if the court lawyer knew Macasaet personally, he said he did not but was introduced to him by CJ’s chief of staff as an IT expert,” referring to lawyer Oliveros.Oliveros eventually admitted that Macasaet is her friend.Oliveros said she can only recommend somebody’s character. I know nothing about the EISP (Enterprise Information System Plan) and about ICT.Oliveros narrated that Sereno told her that the court’s EISP had been stalled for a while, and the position of the chief of the management information system office was vacant at the time.“The chief justice requested a meeting precisely because she wanted to talk, exchange ideas with Ms. Macasaet regarding the state of the EISP. And after that initial meeting she wanted to meet Ms. Macasaet and introduce her to the person in charge of the EISP which was Atty. Michael Ocampo at the Office of the Chief Justice,” she said.Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno’s spokesmen said there was nothing irregular in Macasaet’s hiring as IT consultant.“The Supreme Court hired Ms. Macasaet from among three choices through negotiated procurement because her services are highly technical in nature and, therefore, exempted from public bidding under Section 53.7 of the 2009 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9184,” he said in an earlier press statement.The House justice panel is conducting deliberations to determine probable cause in the impeachment complaint lodged against Sereno.    With GMA online report.....»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneJun 7th, 2018

CJ’s psych test result of 4 grade confirmed, rules call for her disqualification

Finally, after previous newspaper reports stated that then candidate for the position of Supreme Court chief justice, Lourdes Sereno, then a junior associate justice, obtained a low grade of 4, the second lowest grade, with 1 as the highest and five the lowest. This low grade was the result of her psycological and psychiatric tests, a prerequisite of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for every candidate for judiciary posts.These reports have finally been confirmed by a former clerk of court in the Supreme Court Wednesday admitted before the House committee on justice that Chief Justice Sereno obtained the second lowest grade in her psychological test, which under the JBC rules, she should have been disqualified for the top position in the High Court.It has not been explained by the JBC why, despite her low marks and disqualification for the post, Sereno’s name landed in the JBC list that was submitted by then President Benigo Aquino.Aquino also appointed Sereno first from a JBC list, despite her having no bench experience.Aquino did not pick any of the senior SC justices for the top post. Instead, he picked Sereno, then already a junior associate justice who would serve in the SC for at least 20 years.It was speculated then that President Aquino wanted Sereno as Chief Justice, for him to be protected by the incumbent justice.Sereno’s voting record in the SC mainly favored Aquino’s cases while he was president.Lately, her vote still favors Aquino, although hers is always a minority vote.Vidal almost failed to testifyFormer SC clerk of court Vidal almost failed to testify as the hearing dragged until late Wednesday night.It was only after Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte called the attention of the panel chair that Vidal had not yet been asked any questions.At that point, panel chair, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked Vidal regarding the results of Sereno’s psychological test.Although pointing to Sereno as having received the second lowest grade, Vidal, who was also the ex-offico secretary of the JBC at that time being the SC clerk of court then, said there were others who also got ratings of 4.She however said she could no longer recall their identities.This only means that no other candidate for the High Court’s top post made it to the JBC list submitted to Aquino save for Sereno.It will be recalled that the JBC refused to provide the justice panel with the results of the psychological and psychiatric tests of Sereno. Impeachment complainant lawyer Larry Gadon said Vidal’s testimony was a big boost to his case against Sereno as the JBC had earlier rejected his request for copies of psych exam report of the chief justice, citing confidentiality of records under its rules.In his complaint, lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon said Sereno failed the psychological exam administered by the JBC and under the existing JBC policy, ‘an applicant to any position in the judiciary with a grade of 4 is unfit for the job,’” his complaint stated.There quickly went Sereno’s defense, with the usual claim that such does not constitute an impeachable offense.Everything to Sereno and her defense team is not an impeachable offense, whether she failed to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs) for 17 years or whether she hired an IT consultant with at first a P100,000 a month negotiated contract, after which, Sereno’s consultant had her pay increased which meant revisions in the contract which pay went on without passing through the usual route.Macasaet’s fees had increased from P100,000 per month during her first six-month contract to over P252,000 per month after it was renewed.The head of the SC’s Management Information Systems Office testified that the continued renewal of the contract of the IT consultant hired by Sereno raised a red flag.IT consultant Helen Macasaet’s six-month contract was renewed for over four years, which enabled her to earn roughly P11 million in total.The point in all this establishes that indeed, Sereno is unfit for the job of chief justice, as she has been found to be breaking too many rules and does things without the nod of the other justices.Sereno claims that all the charges raised by Gadon are not impeachable offenses. A reported psychologically unfit Chief Justice is to be retained in her post and for the next 15 to 20 years or so.The two doctors will be attending the next session.At the same time, Gadon lauded the House panel’s directive to the BIR to probe on Sereno’s possible tax liabilities. “The action of the Justice committee directing the BIR to investigate the tax payments and tax compliance of Sereno is living proof of the principle that the law should apply to all , even to the highest magistrate of the land,” said Gadon.Gadon also cited the case of Sereno’s IT consultant whose contract was renewed without bidding despite changes in the terms of reference and increase of the amount of more than double the original contract. “It turned out also that the legal staff of Sereno had the whim and caprices of determining the amount of the increase and the renewals in violation of procurement laws,” Gadon said.“Worse these violations and anomalies were done with the express approval of Sereno,” he stressed.“Even worse , it turned out that the IT consultant was allowed to work at some point without the contract having been signed yet!” the lawyer said.Gadon stressed that Sereno had violated all known procedures of procurement. The head of the SC’s Management Information Systems Office testified that the continued renewal of the contract of the IT consultant hired by Sereno raised a red flag.IT consultant Macasaet’s six-month contract was renewed for over four years, which enabled her to earn roughly P11 million in total......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

House justice panel approves 6 Articles of Impeachment vs Sereno

THE justice committee of the House of Representatives has formally accused Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of six impeachable offenses anchored largely on her failure to submit her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth and usurping the collegial authority of the Supreme Court. This developed after 33 lawmakers voted in favor of the unnumbered House [...] The post House justice panel approves 6 Articles of Impeachment vs Sereno appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

House panel orders BIR to start Sereno tax probe

The House Committee on Justice has directed the BIR to begin an investigation on possible tax liabilities of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno amid her alleged failure to file her SALN for 17 years when she was still a law professor at the University of the Philippines......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2018

Carpio dissents in Sereno ouster, but says she violated SALN law

MANILA, Philippines – It seemed like a relatively minor issue during the House of Representatives hearing – some of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from when she was a professor at the University ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 12th, 2018

Fix the Judicial and Bar Council

  When Maria Lourdes Sereno applied to join the Supreme Court in 2010, she submitted a single Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN: that of 2006. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) certified this in a December 2017 letter to Reynaldo Umali, chair of the House ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 5th, 2018

CJ spokesperson: SALNs filed by 2 SC justices only ‘substantial compliance’

The submissions of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Teresita De Castro of their previous statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) in 2012 were only "substantial compliance," a spokesperson of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno saidon Tuesday. Lawyer Josa Deinla, in a statement, said that De Castro's claim of a "baseless 10-year SALN requirement" in one of her many appearances before the House Committee on Justice was "self-serving." "With all due respect, the claim that the JBC [Judicial and Bar Council] required only 10 years ofSALNs was Justice De Castro's self-serving assertion that iscontradicted by the JBC's own announcement and its r...Keep on reading: CJ spokesperson: SALNs filed by 2 SC justices only ‘substantial compliance’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 27th, 2018

Was she required to file? How Sereno explains her missing SALNs

MANILA, Philippines – In its  draft articles of impeachment , the House justice committee accused Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of not filing a total of 17 Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) from the time when she was a professor at the University of the Philippines (UP)......»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 20th, 2018

House justice panel did not surprise Sereno camp

NO surprise. This is the reaction of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s camp upon learning the House committee on justice had approved the committee report and articles of impeachment. In an interview, Atty. Josa Deinla said Sereno expected the House of Representatives decision but still maintains her innocence of the….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

House panel OKs articles of impeachment vs Sereno

The House committee on Justice has approved the report and the accompanying articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno......»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

Sereno not surprised over House panel approval of draft impeach case

  It came as no surprise for Chief Justice on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno, who has been "eagerly" awaiting the House justice committee's approval of the articles of impeachment, as she prepares to face her looming impeachment trial before the Senate.   Lawyer Josa Deinla, one of the spokespersons of Sereno, said they already expected the decision of the House panel, which voted 33-1, ruling in favor of certifying the articles of impeachment against the country's top magistrate.   READ: House panel OKs articles of impeachment vs Sereno     "Hindi naman ikinagulat ng aming kampo kung ano yung narinig nating ulat sa committee on justic...Keep on reading: Sereno not surprised over House panel approval of draft impeach case.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

House panel OKs articles of impeachment vs Sereno

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 33-1, the House committee on justice approved the committee report containing the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The vote took place on Monday, March 19, days before Congress is scheduled to take a two-month break. After a little over an hour of deliberation, the ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

LOOK: Why the House panel wants to impeach Sereno

MANILA, Philippines – The House justice committee on Monday, March 19, approved the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The articles of impeachment are the formal set of charges the House will be presenting against Sereno once it faces the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court. In order for Sereno ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 19th, 2018

Impeachment case vs Sereno okayed today -- House leader

THE Articles of Impeachment and the committee report finding probable cause to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be approved by the House committee on justice today. “Our committee report and the Articles of Impeachment are now prepared for the approval of panel members,” said committee chairman Oriental Mindoro….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 18th, 2018

Panel okays impeach articles, report today

THE Articles of Impeachment and the committee report finding probable cause to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be approved by the House committee on justice today. “Our committee report and the Articles of Impeachment are now prepared for the approval of panel members,” said Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 18th, 2018

House panel gets set to okay Sereno articles of impeachment

THE House committee on justice is set to meet tomorrow to approve the committee report and draft the articles of impeachment in the complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The approval was delayed for a week after members of the committee failed to agree on what acts will be….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 17th, 2018

House panel defers voting on Sereno articles of impeachment

The House committee on justice has deferred its voting on the draft articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. In an interview on Tuesday, March 13, committee chairman Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said the vice chairpersons of the committee have yet to finalize the draft articles of impeachment and the draft committee report.… link: House panel defers voting on Sereno articles of impeachment.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

House panel postpones vote on Articles of Impeachment against Sereno

THE voting on the report of the justice committee of the House of Representatives containing the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno set for Wednesday has been postponed, according to a post on the House website. The Manila Times sought out at least eight members of the panel, including its Chairman Reynaldo [...] The post House panel postpones vote on Articles of Impeachment against Sereno appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

Prosecution panel readied

THE 11-man House prosecution panel is almost complete amid the looming impeachment trial of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in the Senate Impeachment Court. A House leader who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter said the election to the plenary of the 11-man….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 11th, 2018

Enrile tapped as adviser in Sereno ouster trial

THE chairman of the House committee on justice yesterday named former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as private prosecution panel adviser, confirming reports that the former Senate leader will participate in the Lower Chamber’s mission to convict Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in the Senate Impeachment Court. “[Former] Senate President….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsMar 11th, 2018

Sereno on House panel vote: I knew the numbers were not in my favor

Sereno on House panel vote: I knew the numbers were not in my favor.....»»

Category: newsSource:  cnnphilippinesRelated NewsMar 8th, 2018