The P120 million property of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in the posh Wack Wack subdivision in Mandaluyong won’t escape the scrutiny of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said.
Henares made the disclosure a day after the BIR filed P60 million tax evasion charges against Janet Napoles and her husband Jimmy Napoles. On top of the tax evasion raps, Mrs. Napoles is also facing a plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman just like Senator Estrada in connection with the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam that benefited the fake entities owned by Mrs. Napoles.
“We are always looking into the tax angle and we cannot say anything now because anything we do should be confidential, until and unless we are ready to bring the case to court. We want to investigate without interference from anybody or any disturbance for an objective investigation,” Henares said in a chance interview in the sidelines of the budget deliberations in the House of Representatives.
“We do our work quietly, with no fanfare, until we are ready [to file charges],” Henares added.
Estrada has earlier admitted to buying the Wack Wack property in 2012, saying that he sold his house in North Greenhills to finance the purchase of the Wack Wack property.
Estrada claimed that he listed his Wack Wack property in his 2012 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) under investments, but social news network Rappler reported that his 2012 SALN only showed that he has condominium properties in San Juan City and Tagaytay City, a farm and a condominium in Lipa City, as well as two other lots, a townhouse and one house in Quezon City which are all under construction.
Under the Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, all public officials and employees, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, laborers and casual or temporary workers, should truthfully disclose their assets in their SALN since it would reveal if their wealth is commensurate with their income.
The wealth amounting beyond the public official’s legally acquired income is considered ill-gotten.
“If that [Wack Wack property] is listed in his SALN and the purchase is supported by his declared income, there’s no problem. I would have to see first his reported income in his SALN before I make any pronouncements,” Henares, a lawyer, said in closing.
Estrada was one of the 20 Senator judges who voted for the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012 for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for Corona’a failure to declare at least P2 million worth of assets under his SALN. LLANESCA T. PANTI