Personal details about magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) cannot be made public, thus their omission from the justices’ individual Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), according to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“We would rather not always publish the, for example, details about our address, children, etc., those things are not really… as a public servant there are things you want to keep as much as possible but we agreed we would show the people our net worth, our assets and liabilities, so that they can already see whether at the start we can already be trusted,” Sereno said on Friday during a program celebrating the Philippines’ 117th Independence Day at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City (Metro Manila).
Non-disclosure of such details was meant to protect the justices and their families against harassment.
Copies of the magistrates’ SALN can be obtained by the media and other interested parties only after they pass thorough scrutiny.
“Some people said that maybe we can even facilitate the process by immediately publishing them [SALN] even without need of anyone asking for a copy so there were concerns on some personal details,” Sereno said.
She added that her advocacy to be transparent prompted her to allow the release of the SC justices’ SALN.
“Personally we have a positive duty… to demonstrate to our people… that we can be trusted and… in 2012, the consensus was arrived at that we should actually release the SALN but there were specific guidelines,” Sereno said.
According to her, she is looking at creating a committee to review the SALN of members of the judiciary.