To curb corruption in the government, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Sunday, Dec. 5, said he intends to propose the publication of government workers’ Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) on websites and the mandatory video recording of all government bidding transactions.
These “anti-corruption advocacies,” as the former senator calls them will also include the exemption of government employees from the bank secrecy law, which will legally allow banks to share financial information about a government employee involved in corruption.
The recording, Trillanes said during an interview over dzXL, should be live-streamed and can be used as evidence against those involved in corruption related to the bidding process.
“Iyan iyong pinakaginagawa ng karamihan ng mga nangungurakot, nagbibiding bidingan lang. Hindi sila (That’s what many corrupts are doing, fake bidding. They don’t have) actual bidding so mga papel lang iyong bidding but kung mayroong recording hindi nila malulusutan ‘yan (the bidding is only on paper but if there’s recording, they can’t get away from it),” he added.
The issue on government employees’ release of their SALN has been an issue during President Duterte’s term owing to the fact that the President himself has not released his SALN since 2017 despite the public’s clamor for it.
“Actually, dapat siya numero uno. Kung sino ‘yung mas mataas ang pwesto dapat sila iyong mas (he should take the lead. Whoever has the highest position should be more) transparent sa kanilang mga (in their) finances,” Trillanes 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.”
But 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 a 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.
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.