Henares backs out of Supreme Court derbyBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After saying she had the advantage over all aspirants, Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares announced on Monday she was backing out of the race for the vacant seat of Chief Justice Renato Corona, whom she helped oust.
“Although I am honored by the faith and confidence reposed upon me by the people who nominated me to the Chief Justice position, I regret I could not accept the nomination,” Henares said in a statement.
The shooting range buddy of President Benigno Aquino said she preferred to see through tax reforms because these were as important as judicial reforms.
She said that while the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had efficiently improved tax collection, scoring double-digit growth, much effort was still needed.
Data from the Bureau of Treasury showed that in 2011, the BIR contributed revenues of P924.1 billion, higher by 12.3 percent from the previous year’s collections, but 1.7 percent or P15.9 billion short of the target.
Henares said the BIR was tasked to collect P1.066 trillion this year and P1.2 trillion in 2013.
“I feel that at this time, the reforms we are undertaking in the BIR is as significant as the judicial reforms that need to be undertaken in the Supreme Court,” she said.
The accountant-lawyer said that considering the government needed revenues to sustain economic development, reforms at the BIR had to be sustained.
During the traditional diplomatic reception on Independence Day last month in Malacañang, Henares told reporters that she was being lured to the Supreme Court by the opportunity to undertake reforms in the judiciary.
“I’ve experienced the complaints of people about the adjudication system. From arbitration in the National Labor Relations Commission, all the way to fighting for your rights, you’re bumping against big establishments,” she said. “So, I would say that I have an advantage over all the others because I personally experienced all the system itself.”
Henares testified against Corona during his Senate trial and mounted separate investigations against him, his family and in-laws after Mr. Aquino announced an all-out campaign to oust the top magistrate.
On Monday, Henares said that the BIR was completing the evaluation of various core processes, such as those of registration, filing and payment, auditing and collection. Also, the agency has started—and needs to complete—the reengineering of these processes, she said.
Further, the BIR is enhancing its 1990s-era Information Taxpayer Systems, an initiative funded through a grant from Washington-based Millennium Challenge Corp.
“These major efforts are being undertaken to enable us to meet the ever-increasing challenge of reaching revenue collection targets given to us annually,” Henares said.
“Tax collection efforts provide the government with the funds needed to spur economic development and fund social programs to ensure that the benefits of economic growth will trickle down to the less fortunate members of our society,” she added.