No more detailed SALNs for government officials, employees

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 20 2012 01:59 AM | Updated as of Sep 20 2012 07:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Government officials and employees will no longer be required to file a detailed statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Chairman Francisco Duque III of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) revealed the CSC’s decision in response to questions from Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Speaking through Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., who was defending the CSC budget, Duque said they were abandoning the plan due to strong opposition from lawmakers and other government officials and employees.

The legal basis for the proposal is the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, he added.

Duque gave his answers through Andaya because agency heads are not allowed to respond directly to House members’ questions during plenary debates on the budget.

Andaya heads an appropriations subcommittee in charge of the budgets of constitutional commissions and the judiciary.

Rodriguez said he could not remember that the anti-graft law requires government personnel to disclose their family income and expenses.

“Even if the anti-graft law imposes such a requirement, such law is presumed to have been amended by a later law, which is the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees,” he said.

The law only requires SALN filers to declare their assets, liabilities and net worth, including their business and financial connections, Rodriguez said.

The planned new SALN form would have required filers to detail not only their wealth but also their family income and expenses.

The CSC would have imposed the requirement during the SALN filing period in April but suspended it due to widespread protests.

It announced then that it would revive it in time for the next filing period in April 2013.

Public attention has been focused on the wealth document since the Senate impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona.

Senators ousted Corona for failing to declare dollar and peso deposits worth more than P180 million in his SALN.

As an offshoot of Corona’s ouster, Supreme Court justices led by new Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno have disclosed their wealth.

Calls have been made for other officials, including members of Congress, to likewise make public their SALNs.