Sotto wants candidates to voluntarily release SALN, undergo drug test


Posted at Nov 16 2021 11:47 AM | Updated as of Nov 16 2021 12:02 PM

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MANILA - Vice-presidential aspirant Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday agreed that all candidates should release their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) and also undergo drug testing, but recognized that under present circumstances they cannot be compelled to do so.

Sotto said in the original Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 that he authored, there was a provision that stated all candidates must undergo testing, but this was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. 

"It has to be voluntary perhaps or it’s up to the candidates. So yung candidates na ayaw mag-submit ng SALN, alam na natin na hindi dapat pagtiwalaan (The candidates who don't want to submit their SALNs, we know that they should not be trusted)," he told ANC's Headstart.

Asked if President Duterte should release his SALN, he said: "Yes, I think so. He is the president. The people expect transparency in their leaders.”

Sotto said he has formulated a rule among his colleagues at the Senate that the public would only need to write to the chamber's secretariat to receive a copy of any senator's SALN and it would be released. 

A footnote in the SALNs also effectively gives a waiver to the Ombudsman or other authorities to check their bank accounts. 

Asked if he believes candidates should undergo drug testing, Sotto said yes. He said, despite the Supreme Court shooting down the requirement for candidates to undergo drug testing, he submits himself to one every time he runs for public office.

The high tribunal struck down the line in the 2002 law requiring mandatory drug testing of candidates for elective positions because it imposes "a qualification for candidates for senators in addition to those already provided for in the 1987 Constitution."