Sereno: Ombudsman can probe SC justices’ wealth

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

SHORT of saying that members of the judiciary are not invincible, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Thursday the Office of the Ombudsman can determine if they are really leading modest lives as public servants.

Sereno said the justices, just like any other government employee, signed a waiver in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) that empowers the Ombudsman to discreetly conduct a lifestyle check.

"We are not hiding anything," she told reporters.

Sereno said the SC now is more transparent in terms of SALN disclosure, adding the public already know details about her wealth.

"Why is there so much fuzz about the SALN? I hope somebody will help me understand," she said.

The Court on Tuesday maintained its decision to block Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares from accessing their asset statements for tax investigation purposes so as to prevent a fishing expedition.

The SC said Henares failed to allege in particular who she seeks to probe and had not notified those supposedly being investigated that they are being accused of fraud.

It also hit the BIR chief for being selective in her request for SALN copies as it was only limited to the tribunals (SC, Court of Appeals and Court of Tax Appeals) that hear cases involving the agency. (Sunnex)

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