After challenging his colleagues and other government officials to waive their bank secrecy rights, reelectionist Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Friday called for intensified lifestyle checks on government officials of agencies where corruption is perceived to be rampant such as the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In a statement, Escudero said the political capital that President Aquino had gained following his initiatives to stamp out corruption “can be sustained and enhanced by showing the world that the antigraft campaign in government will spare no one.”
“The Aquino administration has been reaping the rewards of Aquinomics—enhancing the country’s competitiveness based on good governance,” Escudero said.
“The next step should be affirming the gains by a show of greater commitment in purging misconduct among public officials and employees through lifestyle checks,” he added.
Escudero said the economic growth of 6.6 percent which the Philippines posted in 2012 and the first ever investment grade the country got from international credit rating agency Fitch could easily be related to the improved image of the country among investors.
Escudero earlier dared government officials and his fellow candidates to make public their financial records by signing waivers on the secrecy of bank deposits to accompany the submission of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
“In the interest of transparency, servants in government without exception should make public their financial records going by the dictum that working in government is a privilege and not a right,” Escudero said.
In an earlier statement, Escudero said his challenge for a bank secrecy waiver also included his peers in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Escuero called on members of Congress to take the lead in furthering the transparency initiative by enacting a law requiring government officials to sign waivers on the secrecy of their bank accounts to open these to government audit.
In 2010, Escudero filed Senate Bill No. 107, or the submission of waiver of bank deposits bill, which sought the mandatory signing of bank waivers among government officials.
The controversy involving the illegal use of Armed Forces of the Philippines funds prompted the filing of the bill, he said.
“I will refile the bill in my next Senate term. A similar waiver was required of Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial and it only follows that all those in government service should be subjected to the same rules and standard,” Escudero said.