Justices never attempted to hide SALNs - SC

Posted at 08/17/14 1:17 PM

SALNs were already reported previously, PNoy reminded

MANILA -- The Supreme Court will release on Monday a list of those who were already granted copies of the justices’ Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

In a statement issued on Saturday, SC spokesman Theodore Te said: “Contrary to what has been reported, the SC Justices have not only been complying with the requirements on the SALN but have made these available upon compliance with the reasonable administrative requirements imposed by the Court.”

This comes on the heels of statements from no less than President Benigno Aquino III reminding the justices to disclose their SALNs.

“It’s in the Constitution. You need to file your SALN. We—the President, the Vice President, justices of the Supreme Court, heads of other constitutional commissions, and toward that end, the officers of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] with flag rank—have to make this statement public. If you want, I can find it for you,” Aquino told TV5 in an interview.

His statement could have emanated from the complaint of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares that her request to be given copies of the justices’ SALNs was denied.

Before she came out in the media, however, the SALNs of the justices were already heavily reported in the media.

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, in her request, wrote that the copies of the SALNs are needed in view of tax investigation purposes and the "Ma’am Arlene" controversy. The SC magistrates, however, have not been involved in what is supposedly the judiciary’s own version of the Napoles scam.

In a resolution in June 2012, the SC issued guidelines in the release of the SALNs.

There, the SC "notes the valid concerns of the other magistrates regarding the possible illicit motives of some individuals in their requests for access to such personal information and their publication. However, custodians of public documents must not concern themselves with the motives, reasons and objects of the persons seeking access to the records.”

“Members of the media and civil society have been able to get copies and their contents have been reported. On Monday, the list of those who have been granted access to SALNs will be released,” Te said.

Like Henares, several quarters were also not able to get copies for failing to follow the SC’s instructions and requirements.

On the other hand, several organizations, such as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, were able to acquire copies.