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Executive, SC don’t see eye to eye on transparency issues—Palace

/ 07:03 PM August 06, 2014

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Wednesday admitted that the Executive and the Supreme Court didn’t see eye to eye on some issues, including government transparency.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, who was asked to comment on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s decision to snub the House hearing on the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), refused to give his opinion on the issue but pointed out that the high court may “have a different take on it.”

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“We will defer to the judgment of Chief Justice Sereno. That is an another branch of government,” he said of Sereno’s refusal to attend the meeting, adding that he was not familiar with the protocols of the Judiciary and the Legislative.

He added, however, that the Executive Branch had “always been transparent” with the programs they implement.

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“So, the Supreme Court may have a different take on (the JDF),” he said before enumerating instances when the two branches of government differed in opinion.

“For instance, we in the executive branch, we would submit our SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) to the Office of the President and submit it to the Ombudsman…So insofar as the Supreme Court, they have a different take,” he explained.

On the other hand, Lacierda pointed out that the high court had denied the request of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a copy of the justices’ SALNs.

“Perhaps they have—we have a different way of looking at things and I would defer to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Sereno on Monday wrote to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, saying the timing and context of the hearing, which was held amid the controversy surrounding the Development Acceleration Program (DAP), left much to be desired.

She added that it was inappropriate for a co-equal branch of government to invite the head of the Judiciary to share her views on proposed bills.

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TAGS: House of Representatives, JDF, judiciary development fund, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Supreme Court
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