‘Component of good governance’: Senate aspirants push for publicly disclosing SALN


Posted at Dec 03 2021 12:04 AM

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MANILA—Statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) of elected government officials must be disclosed in the public's interest, some Senate aspirants said.

During TeleRadyo's special program "Sino SENyo?" on Thursday, 4 Senate hopefuls in Halalan 2022 said officials must release their SALNs since this was part of required transparency in government service.

The program's participants included former senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes of the Liberal Party, former representative Neri Colmenares of Makabayan, former senator JV Ejercito of the National People's Coalition, and environmental activist David D'Angelo of Partido Lakas ng Masa.

SALN disclosure is part of transparency, a "component of good governance", Trillanes said, while Ejercito stressed this should be publicized since being in "public office is a public trust."

D'Angelo, meanwhile, pushed for elected officials signing a waiver that would exempt them from the Bank Secrecy Law so the public can see how much wealth they have.

"Dapat ang SALN public 'yan para sa lahat ng official. Mula Presidente hanggang konsehal," Colmenares added.

The issue of releasing of SALNs has been a hot topic among candidates in the 2022 elections as President Rodrigo Duterte continues to keep details of his financial worth confidential.

Article XI, Section 17 of the Constitution requires the President and other high-ranking officials to disclose their SALNs to the public.

But the Office of the Ombudsman, led by Samuel Martires, last year restricted public access to the SALN for the first time since the law mandating public disclosure of this document was passed in 1989.

Martires, a Duterte appointee, was criticized after he proposed jail time for those who make public comments on such documents.

Experts have called it dangerous, citing people’s right to freedom of expression.