Corona-led Supreme Court OK’d jail for 2 SALN cheats

Posted at 02/06/2012 5:54 PM

(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)

Almost a year ago, the Supreme Court led by Renato Corona affirmed the conviction and jail sentence of Rosalio Galeos for making “false” and “incomplete” declarations in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for four successive years.

Galeos’ case and that of his co-accused, former Naga, Cebu mayor Paulino Ong, are particularly important to the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. It set a legal precedent in how the Supreme Court views SALNs and how the magistrates give weight to the truthfulness and completeness of SALN disclosures.

In the case of Galeos and Ong, the Supreme Court ruled that an outright misdeclaration or even an omission – by simply leaving a portion of the SALN blank – was intended to mask an even bigger crime. In this case, nepotism since both men were found to be first cousins.

Associate Justice Martin Villarama penned this decision dated February 9, 2011 for the Third Division of the Supreme Court. Associate Justices Conchita Carpio Morales, Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin and Jose Mendoza concurred.