Palace slams SC’s lack of transparency

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A DAY after the Supreme Court (SC) snubbed a congressional hearing on the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), Malacañang virtually took the cudgels for its allies in the House of Representatives who are conducting the probe, saying the High Court lacks transparency on issues of public interest.

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Its spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, on Wednesday compared the executive to the judiciary which, he said, has not been totally open when it comes to matters of fund use or even the filing of magistrates’ statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

“There will always be issues, for instance, on transparency. At least, at the very least in the executive branch, we have always been transparent with what we do, with what we implement,” Lacierda said in a news briefing.

When asked to react on reports that SC justices led by Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno snubbed the hearing set by lawmakers on the JDF, the Palace official maintained that such probe is called for since “we’re now in the budget season.”

“I suppose that’s part of [it]. For instance, today, this morning, Secretary [Florencio "Butch”] Abad and the DBCC [D[Development Budget Coordinating Council]re in the House of Representatives presenting the budget,” Lacierda said.

He, however, clarified, that he is not fully aware of protocols on attendance of SC justices in public hearings called by Congress.

“The Supreme Court may have a different take on it. For instance, we have a different interpretation on the request for [S[SALN] Lacierda pointed out.

He said in the executive branch, they would regularly submit their SALN to the Office of the President and the Ombudsman.

“We publish… or at least we inform the public,” Lacierda added. “We have a different way of looking at things.”

On Tuesday, Sereno did not show up at the hearing scheduled by the House Committee on Justice, invoking judicial independence.

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