Henares to SC: The law is not different for the judiciary

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 24 2014 01:25 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2014 09:37 AM

SC earlier released SALNs

MANILA - Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares reminded the Supreme Court that it should set the highest standard for lawyers and for everyone by following the country’s laws.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Henares said her request for copies of justices’ statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) was also denied by the Court of Tax Appeals.

She expects the same from the Court of Appeals, which she said already denied a request from the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

“The law is written for everyone. Even if you are the judiciary, it doesn’t mean you have different laws,” said Henares, who is also a lawyer.

Henares slammed the high court after it denied her request for the justices’ SALNs from 2003 to 2012 for investigation purposes.

Quoting the high court’s ruling, Henares said the request was denied “for lack of sufficient basis.”

The SC disclosed a couple of weeks ago copies of the magistrates 2013 SALNs upon the request of several media outfits.

Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo is still the richest magistrate with a net worth of P122,217,723.13 in 2013, an increase from his P109,743,118.28 net worth the previous year.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is the second richest with a P84,309,762.57 net worth for 2013, up from P83,885,614.57 in 2012.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, on the other hand, recorded P19,012,648.21 in net worth for 2013 from P18,143,104.01 the previous year.

Henares said her request is not being made because of the current impasse between President Benigno Aquino III and the SC. She said the request was filed in December 2013.

She said it was an offshoot of the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was removed from office in May 2012 for failing to include in his SALNs all his peso and dollar accounts.

She added the BIR also wanted to investigate because of the “Ma’am Arlene” scandal, which alleges a certain fixer is bribing officials of the judiciary.

“I feel we have an accountability somewhere, somehow. They don’t have an unfettered authority. What is that? Dictatorship?” Henares added.

She said she will again file a request for copies of the SALNs.