Robredo to fellow presidential bets: No hidden wealth? Show your SALN

Published November 15, 2021, 8:06 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, Nov. 15, challenged presidential candidates to show their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to prove that they have no hidden wealth.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP)

Robredo, who is the leader of the opposition, stressed that she has always been about making the SALN public.

“Ang panawagan natin na dapat iyong ibang mga kandidato at saka public officials ganoon din kasi iyon naman iyong dahilan kung bakit required siya (Our call is that candidates and public officials [should release SALN] because this is the reason why it is required) under the law,” Robredo said.

The declaration of assets and liabilities by a government official and employee and their unmarried children under 18 years old who are living in the same household is provided for under Article XI Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713, or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

The Vice President gives an annual copy of her SALN to the media a day after a request is made.

On the other hand, President Duterte has not released his SALN since 2017 despite the public’s clamor for it.

“In the first place, kaya siya required kasi ito iyong pamantayan at saka ito iyong pruweba kung iyong mga kandidato o mga public officials na binoboto natin, malinis iyong kanilang record, walang tinatagong yaman. Iyong kanila bang mga pag-aari ay commensurate sa income na natatanggap nila (it is required because it is the basis and proof if the candidates or public officials that we vote have clean records, no hidden wealth. If their properties are commensurate to the income they receive),” Robredo explained.

“Kapag tinatago ito, papaano malalaman ng taumbayan (If this is being hidden, how will the people know)?,” she asked.

The lady official lamented that the Ombudsman has made it almost impossible for anyone to request a copy of the SALN of government officials.

READ: Ombudsman’s refusal to release SALNs adds to public’s mistrust — Robredo

“Kami sa opisina namin, totoo na naka-file ito sa Ombudsman pero siyempre may kopya kami (In our office, it is true that it is filed with the Ombudsman but of course we have a copy). Anyone na mag-request (who will request), basta mag-comply lang sa requirements namin (as long as they comply with our requirements), we issue as soon as possible,” she said.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires issued Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2020 in September last year.

The memorandum restricted public access to SALN except for official or duly authorized representatives, for a court order in relation to a pending case, and for the Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office for the purpose of conducting fact-finding investigation.

His office repeatedly denied access to the President’s SALN, and even proposed an amendment on Republic Act No. 6713 before the House committee on appropriations that will penalize people making commentaries on the SALNs of public officials.

The penalty will be imprisonment of five years.

Martires had said he was ready to be removed from office instead of yielding to the public’s request to make available the SALN of the President and other public officials.