(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

MANILA (Mabuhay) – For the first time in its history, the Supreme Court will make the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) of its 15 magistrates available online.

SC Public Information Office chief and spokesman Theodore Te on Thursday said summaries of the justices’ SALNs would be released on the Supreme Court’s website either this week or next.

“If I get the [summary reports] this afternoon, I can release it already,” said Te.

Te clarified that only summaries and not full SALNs would be posted on the Supreme Court website. “Full SALNs are still subject to guidelines,” he said.

During their summer session in Baguio two months ago, the justices approved the format of the summary report of their SALNs.

The SC said the summary report would be prepared by its Public Information Office, which is headed by Te.

The SC earlier said the summary report would be uploaded to its website “as soon as all the information is complete.”

In August 2012, the SC, led by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, released not only a summary of the justices’ SALNs, as is done at the House of Representatives, but also an inventory of their assets and liabilities.

The SALN release came some two months after the high court released guidelines for releasing the SALNs of judges and justices.

Over the years, SC justices kept their SALNs secret because of an en banc resolution issued on May 2, 1989 preventing such disclosures.

The high court explained at the time that it had to be secretive with the SALNs as they could be used “to fish for information and… to influence a decision or to warn the court of the unpleasant consequences of an adverse judgment.”

In 1992, the SC issued in another resolution a reiteration of the 1989 decision. The court said it wanted to protect justices and judges from acts which may “endanger, diminish or destroy their independence and objectivity in the performance of their judicial functions.”

Te made the announcement about the release of the SALN summaries on the 114th anniversary of the Supreme Court.

In a video message for the anniversary, Sereno thanked members of the judiciary – from employees, to judges and fellow justice – for their continued cooperation in serving the public.

Marami pa tayong kailangang gawin pero ngayon pa lamang, dapat ipagbunyi natin ang pagkakaisa natin. Dibdibin natin ang natatanging papel na ibinigay sa atin: Ang mamuna sa lakbayin ng katarungan,” Sereno said.

Panatag ang loob ko na sa madaling panahon, makakamtam natin na maipagmamalaki at natatanging sangay ng pamahalaan ang hudikaturang Pilipino. Sa kalaunan, ipagmamalaki natin ito hindi lang dito sa loob ng bansa kung hindi pati na rin sa labas,” she added.(MNS)