MANILA - The Office of the Solicitor General last year asked the University of the Philippines' board of regents to release a copy of Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen's Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) days before the filing of an impeachment complaint against him, said a report published by the Philippine Collegian.
In a report on Friday, UP Diliman's student publication said the university Board of Regents' "badly redacted" minutes revealed the development, a copy of which was published on the UP Gazette dated Nov. 26 last year.
A quick search on the redacted portion showed that Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Prospero de Vera said that he received a letter from the OSG about its request to get a copy of Leonen's SALN when he was still member of the university's faculty.
The associate justice had served as dean of the UP College of Law and became director of its legal aid program.
The request of the Solicitor General, who was behind the ouster former chief magistrate Maria Lourdes Sereno in May 2018, was rejected by UP's Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), based on their redacted minutes.
De Vera, chairperson of the UP Board of Regents, also allegedly forwarded to UP's "highest policy-making body" the OSG's request to have it "reconsidered," after the HRDO junked it.
The CHED chair also agreed when asked by a regent whether it was within their authority to reverse the HRDO's decision, according to the student paper, citing the redacted portions.
"The board eventually deferred the decision on the OSG’s request for reconsideration to the university’s legal office, which will advise and brief the BOR on the matter. But further discussions on the request were not taken up in the board’s following meeting in January," the Collegian wrote in its report.
The Collegian report came days before the House of Representatives justice panel is set to hold its first round of deliberations on the impeachment complaint against Leonen, which cites his alleged failure to properly declare his SALN and act timely on cases.
The chamber will hear the impeachment complaint on May 27.
The complaint against Leonen was filed on Dec. 7 by Edwin Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government.
Sereno and the late Renato Corona were both removed as chief magistrates on the basis of failed declarations in their wealth report.
Leonen is one of the three remaining appointees of then President Benigno Aquino III in the high court.