Henares: SALN can’t be corrected once filed
MANILA, Philippines–Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares believes that a statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of government officials can no longer be amended once they filed it even if there were inaccuracies in the filing.
Henares offered this opinion when asked by former Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, the lead counsel of Chief Justice Renato Corona, during Monday’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
“My understanding is that SALN may be corrected if not accurate…In this particular case, did you come to the conclusion that this is one which can be corrected pursuant to law or it may not be corrected at all?” asked Cuevas.
“My personal opinion is it can’t be corrected at all,” said Henares.
“Because in the first place, it’s sworn to under oath. And then second place, like I said I’m a government official and I would say that the SALN requires me to completely list all my assets because it’s a way for the public to determine whether at the end of the day I have enriched myself because of my position,” she said.
“So if it can be amended at any time, then it’s a useless exercise to even require government officials to submit a SALN at all,” the BIR chief added.
After hearing Henare’s reply, Cuevas moved to strike her answer out.
“That’s your opinion only. We will move to strike out the answer of the witness, your honor,” Cuevas said, which elicited some reactions from the gallery.
Private prosecutor Arthur Lim, who examined Henares, objected to Cueva’s motion, saying “You asked the witness, the witness answered.”
Even the presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile was surprised by Cuevas’ motion.
“Your witness answered already. Why should you ask for the striking out of her answers?” asked Enrile.
“Because apparently what ‘s being stated of the witness has no basis. That’s her personal opinion according to her,” Cuevas answered.
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