Lawmakers unhappy over new SALN requirements


03:28 AM February 16th, 2012

By: Gil C. Cabacungan, February 16th, 2012 03:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Lawmakers are grumbling about requiring civil servants to declare their other sources of income, income tax paid, and family and personal expenses in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that they are required to file on April 30.

Under the guidelines of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), all government employees must provide additional information about their finances in the new SALN form.

Surigao del Norte Representative Philip Pichay led several lawmakers at a committee hearing Wednesday to voice their apprehensions over SALN reforms initiated by the CSC that would take effect this year.

“The SALN law did not include the amount and sources of gross income amount of personal and family expenses, and then the amount of income tax paid. This is unconstitutional,” said Pichay.

The lawmaker is the younger brother of Prospero Pichay, former head of Local Water Utilities Administration who was slapped with tax evasion charges after failing to file his income tax return in 2009 when he acquired a thrift bank and saw his net worth rise by P60 million.

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said that if the government would insist on the SALN reforms, the opposition would seek a temporary restraining order from a court.

Lawmakers made similar complaints at the ways and means committee hearing on Tuesday. They claimed that the inclusion of “passive income,” which has been subjected to a final tax such as interest income from bank deposits and cash dividends, and capital gains taxes on property sales, would violate the Bank Secrecy Law, according to Pichay.

He said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had already deleted the declaration of these items in a supplemental page of the income tax return “and he was surprised why this was revived by the CSC.”

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