Bill seeks mandatory signing of bank waivers

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2014 03:48 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2014 11:48 PM

MANILA - A lifestyle check will become mandatory for all government officials once Senator Chiz Escudero's Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits bill is enacted into law.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Senate Bill No. 16 (SBN 16) seeks the mandatory signing of bank waivers to make public the financial records of all government officials and those seeking public office.

Escudero filed the bill in support of calls by his colleagues in the Senate for a lifestyle check after some senators have been implicated in the multi-billion pork barrel controversy.

"I have been espousing for transparency in government to curb graft and corruption. I filed this bill on waiver on bank secrecy in 2010 and continuously pursues this advocacy in the Senate," said Escudero, who had signed a similar waiver when he filed his statement of assets and liabilities (SALN) last year.

If enacted into law, SBN 16 will enable the government to audit the finances of all civil servants, including the President, he said.

In Escudero's proposal, all public officials and employees, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, shall submit with the anti-graft body a written waiver in favor of the Office of the Ombudsman to look into "all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions, both within and outside the Philippines, including investment bonds issued by the government of the Philippines."

"This lifestyle check will benefit those who have issued the challenge in the first place," Escudero said. "Those who have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear."