MANILA, Philippines - Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares was nominated for the position of chief justice Friday, more than a week after the ouster of the previous chief magistrate Renato Corona.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) confirmed the news, saying the nomination was done by lawyer Elpidio Jamora Jr.
Henares said she was flattered by the nomination but said she has to think about accepting it.
"Personally, I have to think about it because I'm doing a lot of things in the BIR. If I say that it's something worth giving up to do something that's equally as important, then I will have to consult with the President," she told ANC's Dateline Philippines on Friday.
She also said it will be up to President Aquino if he will heed suggestions that he should not appoint someone from outside the Supreme Court.
She said Aquino will always appoint someone who he believes will push the judicial agenda that he promised.
"He has proven that he will do what is right for our country. I believe whatever decision he makes, he has the country's welfare at heart," he said.
President Aquino previously told ABS-CBN in an interview that both Henares and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima have what it takes to become chief justice.
Henares said she became a lawyer in 1997 before joining the Sycip, Gorres and Velayo (SGV) tax division for 8 months. She later joined the Romulo Mabanta law office for 8-9 years.
She was head of compliance and legal affairs of ING Bank then became partner of Yap Jacinto Jacob Law Office.
She served as governor of the Board of Investments and deputy commissioner of the BIR before becoming a legal adviser for a revenue agency in Afghanistan. She also worked as Senior Private Sector Development Specialist for the World Bank Group.
"If you look at it, my legal background and management background is really quite -- I would say I went from private sector to public sector to international multilateral agencies so it's a pretty well-developed background. It's not purely legal. It has a lot of management reform skills developed through the years," she said.
PNoy weighs losing Henares
A Palace spokesperson on Friday said President Aquino is weighing the pros and cons of losing Henares if she is appointed the country's next chief justice.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte echoed what President Aquino said: that the chief executive would have to weigh first if letting go of Henares would be good for the administration.
"She’s certainly very qualified for the job. Her qualifications will speak for themselves. Commissioner Henares has been a pillar of our tax efforts… She’s very no-nonsense, she’s very matter-of-fact which helps in her administration of the tax laws’ enforcement," Valte told reporters.
"What the President wanted to weigh first [is] kung ano ang magiging kawalan, ‘yung pros and cons. Let's give him time to make that weighing before we can give any further comment. But certainly, Commissioner Henares is very qualified for the post."
Henares is the fourth nominee after Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza, former Ateneo De Manila College of Law Dean Cesar Villanueva and Atty. Katrina Legarda. -- With reports from Willard Cheng and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; ANC