It would have been a typical ending to a young professional’s workday—a cup of coffee and dessert while waiting for the rains to die down before heading home. What made this coffee shop stop special, however was that it was over a riveting conversation with former Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Jacinto Henares.
A lot has been said about Tita Kim as I fondly call her. In the six years she was in office, she was known as a fierce government persona focused on getting things done. And no matter how much criticism was thrown her way during her tenure, it is clear as day that she was a success at the controversial seat.
Now two months out of office, she describes life to be calmer and more relaxed. Asked if she missed her former post, she was quick to clarify that she “missed the opportunity to serve the country” but as far as work is involved, she said, “It can easily be found.”
“What advice can you give young women who wish to carve a name in government?” I followed up.
With conviction, she replied, “The first thing is that you should have a strong love for your country because that is the guiding principle no matter what you do, and you make decisions from that perspective. Once you are able to do that and once you have established that within yourself, you will know what’s right or wrong and stick with it.”
She continued, “You must have enough resources put away for a rainy day because in government you are not paid as much as you would be in corporate offices. You want to go into government because you want to serve. It’s not about the money.”
Moving on from the topic of government, a well-rested Kim Henares exchanged jokes with yours truly and her husband Danby of 15 years, who joined us for the quick sit down.
Hardly given the chance to describe herself in past interviews as BIR chief, Tita Kim was happy to oblige: “I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong. I believe in absolutes and not relativity. It’s just so that there are things that are absolutely right and absolutely wrong. Secondly, I am essentially a very logical person but that doesn’t mean that I am not easily moved to tears.”
A few other revelations she allowed included how she really wanted to become a doctor, and how she would pursue Medicine now if she could.
A self-confessed introvert who had to give daily interviews until recently, she said she would much rather listen to other people speak, and like a sponge, keep learning from those around her.
As a wife, you could see how charming a couple she made with Tito Danby. Apparently, they had been friends for long time after meeting at the Ateneo Law School, which became the foundation of their relationship.
“We are definitely unlike poles because he’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. There are things I never imagined doing when I was younger, and that I developed through the years like speaking on TV or to media. The evolution is because of his influence.”
This time giving marriage advice, she added, “Before you get married, you have to accept the person in totality: the positive and the negative. You should weigh that the negative is acceptable to you and that you are willing to live with that person [knowing you cannot change him]. And secondly, the realization that when you say marriage is a partnership, we have to accept that it’s not 50/50 all the time. There will be times when you give more and times when your partner gives more, that’s just how it is.”
She also emphasized the importance of growing as individuals within marriage to lead to a more fruitful partnership.
Asked this time to describe his wife, Tito Danby said, “She’s the most wonderful person in the world. She’s the best conversationalist in the world; you can sit down and talk to her for 24 hours or even more.”
What’s next for Kim Henares after her much deserved break? She insisted that besides her commitment to the United Nations Committee of International Tax Expert and other freelance consultancy work, she still doesn’t know.
One thing is for sure, however, her desire to learn is passionate as ever.
“Life is a learning process, you never stop. There are so many interesting things going on and a lot of information readily available to us to do so,” she smiled, giving away that she knows the best is yet to come.
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