House of Coronas: SALNs still secret

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A year after Chief Justice Renato Corona was ousted for not being forthright in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, members of the House of Representatives still reject requests to release their SALNs.

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Corona, said that since the SALN played a central role in the House move to impeach Corona, the chamber should be “role models for public officers” and be more forthcoming with their SALNs.

“I think the House should really make the SALNs available because of that impeachment,” Tupas told reporters.

Tupas said he already released his own SALN shortly after Corona’s conviction in May. The spokespersons of the House prosecution team and militant lawmakers also voluntarily released their SALNs.

“If we prosecuted Corona and we pinned him down based on that single article, SALN, I think it is just proper for the (House) leadership to make the SALN easily accessible to the people,” he added.

Guidelines not final

The House earlier formed a committee to draft the rules for the release of SALNs, but these guidelines have yet to be finalized.

The draft has been referred to the rules rewriting committee before it is approved, according to House leaders.

At present, the release of SALNs is left to individual lawmakers.

The House secretary general releases the net worth of House members every year, ranking them from the richest to the “poorest,” but the list does not contain the details of the legislators’ assets and liabilities.

Tupas said the elections in May 2013 were no excuse for lawmakers to withhold the release of their SALNs.

Political excuse

Other officials are reluctant to release the documents, saying their political opponents might use the data to concoct stories against them.

“We know election time is highly emotional. Of course, during elections, everybody’s looking for a flaw [in their opponent], but for me that’s not enough reason,” he said.

Tupas said the only time he did not want to release his SALN was at the height of the impeachment trial, because doing so would have muddled the issue by turning the attention to the prosecutors instead of to the one on the stand.

The House swiftly impeached Corona on Dec. 12, 2011, getting 188 lawmakers to sign the complaint against him. This did away with the need for plenary debates on the impeachment complaint, since the support of only one-third of the 285 members is necessary to go to trial.

After a five-month trial, Corona was found guilty for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution, stemming from his failure to declare assets and bank accounts in his SALN.

Tupas said the reforms stemming from Corona’s impeachment covered all branches of government.

“We can slowly feel the reforms not only in the judiciary but also in the entire bureaucracy. To me that’s a game changer in the campaign for reforms of the Aquino administration,” he said.

Some problems

But Tupas also acknowledged that a complete overhaul of the system would not take place overnight.

“It’s not because we had this impeachment, and everything will just change. Because as we know, there’s still some problems even in the judiciary. Transparency is still a problem. But in terms of accountability, slowly there are changes,” he said

For instance, he said, members of the judiciary were more aware that they could be held to answer for their actions through the process of impeachment.

Tupas noted that the selection process for Corona’s replacement had been very transparent, with the interviews conducted publicly. This has to be preserved, he said.

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  • oyakloluagm

    Eh by law naman kailangan nila gawin yan annually diba ….

  • EdgarEdgar

    Talking Points:

    1. Neil Jurjur Tupas has yet to explain his P42 million property in Xavierville. With all his years in government and what little private practice he had combined, he still won’t be able to afford the property. If the Commission on Audit is not keen on going after Noynoy’s allies, netizens and social media will. One of these days, when he’s no longer in power, his past will catch up with him.

    2. The house of Congress is hardly the only institution keeping SALNs secret. A report by GMA 7 / PCIJ,org came out last Monday detailing how Sereno and her peers (except for Peralta and Mendoza) have understated, misdeclared and undeclared their assets in the 2011 SALN. When sought for clarification, Sereno insisted that she and her peers are above the law and
    that they can only be questioned by the Ombudsman and not by the people or
    taxpayers. (source: GMA7 & PCIJ,org article “gods of faura”).

    3. “A year after Chief Justice Renato Corona was ousted”– correction needed. We’re still in 2012.

    • legislex

      I agree with your observation.  Rep. Tupas, Jr.’s disclosure of his SALN does not make him apart from CJCorona.  He has to justify the assets that he declared in it.  From my reading of what has been revealed so far in the media, it is impossible for him to accumulate the wealth he has now through his past and present occupations.  He practiced law briefly.  He was merely an Associate Lawyer of the firm before he ran for public office.  He does not have a credible business that can justify his income.  In summary, he is also corrupt just like CJCorona.

  • marcos_hitler_diktador_tuta

    Please publish the list of senators and congressmen who refuse or does not want to release to the public copy of their SAL-N.

    Let the people be informed.

  • regd

    We need more corona-like impeachment!

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Agreed.

      From what I hear, the present CJ faked her SALN, as well as disregarded constitutionally lawful procedure.

      • basyong

        lahat ng mga nagfile ng kanilang ITR pulos peke ang finile dahil gusto ng bawat isa makatipid sa pagbabayad sa BIR na wala namang mapapakinabangan sa pera ng bayan kundi ipamigay dito sa mga tongresmen at senatong na eto yan ang katotohanan

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        Agreed.

        And yet, pag ayaw nila ang naka upong then CJ RCC siya ang pag iinitan.

        Kahit lahat sila parepareho ang baho.

  • padrefaura

    imbes na magturuan, the congress and senate should pass a law that directs the Ombudsman to  post on its website ALL Scanned SALNs of ALL public officers. 

    hindi naman siguro mahirap yun if there is proper budgetting, right?

  • tra6Gpeche

    Basta ang nasisiguro ko, tulad ni Mr. Renato Corona, ang sinumang naglilingkod sa bayan na ayaw ipakita ang kanilang “Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth” ay may bulok na itinatago!

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Ang sinasabi ni Tupas eh, marami pang mambabatas na ‘bulok na may itinatago,’ in your vernacular.

      We impeached RCC for this reason, yet, we can’t compel to make MOST of the law makers to do the right thing.

      • popeyee

        “we can’t compel to make MOST of the law makers to do the right thing.”
        Because they are Pnoy’s allies?

      • tra6Gpeche

        Are you sure they are all Mr. Aquino’s allies? If they are, then they are all hiding their wealth, stolen or not. I would also blame Mr. Aquino for spoiling these lawmakers!

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        hmmmmm. yes.

        pag kalaban, impeach, pag kakampi, itago ang baho.

        the usual self righteous politics.

  • http://twitter.com/PatrickTesoro Patrick Bryan Tesoro

    Article II of the accusatory Articles of Impeachment of the House Prosecution Panel:

    “Respondent committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayed the public trust when he failed to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth as required under Sec. 17, Art XI of the 1987 Constitution.”

    Article XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution. ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS:

    “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.”

    A.M. No. 92-9-851-RTC, dated September 22, 1992 provides:

    “All requests for copies of statements of assets and liabilities of any Justice or Judge shall be filed with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court or with the Court Administrator, as the case may be, and shall state the purpose of the request.”

    Therefore, non-disclosure by the Chief Justice of his SALN was not an offense since the manner of disclosure provided by A.M. No. 92-9-851-RTC was for the Clerk of the Supreme Court, and not for the Chief Justice himself, to be responsible in disclosing the SALN.

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      I’ve always had the notion that RCC was impeached because he slighted the Senate by leaving the court room unexcused.

      Article 2 of the impeachment complaint is just the medium they used to implement it.

      • http://twitter.com/PatrickTesoro Patrick Bryan Tesoro

        Corona was convicted for Noynoy’s wish.

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        that too.

    • pangitbudhiko

      very well said

  • KenKhoy

    “role model” ba kamo toto, puede ba pirma rin kayo ng waiver……foi

    • basyong

      pakisama sa SALN yung request sa AMLC para patas ang laban. kung ano ang ginawa mo sa kapwa dapat mangyari din sa inyong mga magnanakaw

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/P4PIU2AIGVXJNQ4UBH5X64MSFE mr

    Sa mga Kingkoygressmen na magnanakaw pakita nyo na SALN nyo at wag nyong salSALN ang mga bumoto sa inyo

  • TwiggyRamirez

    …dapat nang i-paskil ang mga pangalan ng ayaw magpakita ng kanilang SALN at imbistigahan agad ng COA.

    • pangitbudhiko

      tumpak dapat ipaskil na ang mga pangalan ng mga tongressman na ayaw ilahad ang kanilang mga SALN, para sa darating na eleksiyon hindi sila iboto ng mga pilipino na patuloy na nag mamahal sa bayan, This is the only way the Masa can get back at these politician who are trying to duped the nation.

  • http://twitter.com/hlas_08 henry salas

    the majority who voted for the impeachment of the chief justice renato corona, in the lower and upper house should stand to their conscience and should now open their SALN w/out any pre-condition.calling the attention of congressman tupas, bag-ao etc.. .kapal ng mukha ninyo! niloloko ninyo ang mga mamayan!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E3CE56OQVPC4RPYD2NR4VD3SUE Bert

    Like what many has suspected, the Corona Impeachment was a plot authored by Malacanang, not to cleanse the Judiciary but to get back at the former CJ for not being a puppet of the sitting president. And with the end view of turning the whole SC into a Malacanang RUBBER STAMP…

    SALN DECLARATION? Who among our govt officials care about it? NOT EVEN PNOY. We are all duped. That’s TUWID NA DAAN for you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

    TUPAS IS NOW EYEING THE SALN’s OF  SC JUSTICES FOR POSSIBLE IMPEACHMENT OF GMA APPOINTED JUSTICES. SC IS IN A SHAKY CONDITION NOW AND IT WILL BE TREMBLED SOON BY THE LACKEYS OF THIS LAZY HEAD OF THE STATE.

  • pangitbudhiko

    well kung wala kang tinatago bakit ka matatakot na gagamitin yun SALN mo sa election.

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