Ousted Chief Justice Sereno returns P5-M Toyota Land Cruiser to SC

Image capture of video by ABS-CBN
  • Ousted CJ Sereno returned the controversial bullet-proof vehicle to the Supreme Court
  • The vehicle was returned ahead of the June 30 deadline
  • The Toyota Land Cruiser figured in the impeachment complaint filed by Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Sereno before the House of Representatives

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines Lourdes Sereno has returned the controversial sports utility vehicle worth over P5 million to the SC ahead of the June 30 deadline.

One of Sereno’s spokespersons, Atty. Jojo Lacanilao, confirmed the return of the vehicle to the SC custody on Wednesday, June 20, after her appeal against her removal was denied with finality on Tuesday, June 19.

“(The Land Cruiser was) returned on June 20, the day after the announcement of the ruling on June 19,” Lacanilao told reporters.

As per a Philstar story dated June 22, 2018, the ousted chief justice continued to use the controversial vehicle even after she stepped down from her position last month. She waited for the finality of the ruling last Tuesday before giving up the car.

The bullet-proof vehicle, which figured in the impeachment complaint filed by Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Sereno before the House of Representatives, is now at the SC parking lot.

The Commission on Audit told the SC that the acquisition of Sereno’s vehicle was against the procurement laws.

The bullet-proof SUV Image from Julius N. Leonen’s Twitter account

ABS-CBN quoted COA as saying that the price of the vehicle – P5,110,500 – was used as Approved Budget for the Contract “without market analysis or basis to determine if it was the most advantageous prevailing price,” contrary to the Government Procurement Reform Act.

COA further said that approving the amount as the budget for the contract prevented other suppliers from participating, thereby defeating the purpose of public bidding.

Another P3.1 million was used in the bullet-proofing of the vehicle, as alleged by Atty. Gadon.