Chiz Escudero urges candidates in the May 2022 to disclose their SALNs

Former Senator and incumbent Sorsogon Governor Francis ”Chiz” Escudero on Sunday said candidates seeking elective posts in the 2022 national elections should bare their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

Escudero said doing so would help voters decide their next choice of public officials who will lead this country as SALNs would boost a candidate’s credibility and integrity.

He said if a candidate’s SALN is up for public scrutiny, voters can ascertain whom they should vote in the upcoming elections.

“Wala akong nakikitang dahilan para ito ipagdamot sa mga botante kung nais ng kandidato na tunay na maglingkod sa publiko (I don’t see any reason why the SALN should be withheld from voters if a candidate is sincere in his goal to serve the public),” Escudero said in a statement.

Escudero, who is seeking another Senate term in next year’s polls, recalled he first filed Senate Bill No. 16, or the Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits Bill, which sought the mandatory signing of bank waiver along with the filing of the SALN with the Office of the Ombudsman by all public officials and employees.

The waiver would give the Ombudsman the authority to look into all the bank deposits and investment bonds of public servants here and abroad.

He refiled this bill in 2013 under the 16th Congress and had always submitted to the Senate Secretary his SALN together with a signed waiver on secrecy of bank deposits to set an example to other government officials.

“For greater transparency, we should make our SALNs readily available. Kung wala ka namang itinatago, wala kang dapat ikatakot (If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear),” he said.

Under Republic Act 6713 or The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees requires all government officials and personnel to submit sworn SALN documents within 30 days after assuming office and not later than April 30 every year thereafter.

The law also mandates the record custodian to publicly disclose these records. All public officials and employees are required to file under oath their SALN and disclose their business interests and financial connections.

The law also requires them to declare the wealth of their spouses and unmarried children under 18 living in their households.

However, Escudero said public officials, especially those seeking elective posts, who would be executing a bank secrecy waiver would serve as “proof of their honest intent in rendering public service and as an assurance against theft of public funds.”