Gutoc warns Duterte: Failure to fully disclose wealth an impeachable offense
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc has warned President Rodrigo Duterte that not fully declaring a public official’s wealth is an impeachable offense, amid questions about the President’s riches.
Gutoc — who previously served under the current administration as a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee — reminded Duterte on Monday that elected officials are accountable for truthful declarations in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
“Public officials are required to truthfully disclose their wealth under the Constitution. People chose to be accountable the moment they decided to run for public office,” she said in a statement.
“A public official’s wealth is the Filipino people’s business,” she added.
On Sunday, Duterte slammed reports about his family’s wealth, based on SALNs filed since he first ran for public office.
Although he only mentioned ‘investigative journalists’, it is believed that he was referring to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which recently reported the increase in income of Duterte, his children Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and former Mayor Vice Mayor Paulo Duterte.
Duterte claimed that those increases stemmed from the earnings of their law office, saying that he was not required to report what he earned through his own sweat.
Duterte also badmouthed the journalists, but Gutoc said that the solution to these issues was just “simple.”
“Simple lang, public officials should answer accusations about their wealth accordingly. We should not be afraid to answer the hard questions. Walang dapat ikatakot kung walang tinatago,” Gutoc explained.
The Otso Diretso stalwart also noted that the simple mistake of not correctly filing SALNs has been proven to be crucial, especially in the case of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached in December 2011 on these grounds.
“Failure to declare a public official’s true wealth is a culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. It is provided for in Art. XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution that ‘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,” Gutoc said.
“This already happened to Chief Justice Renato Corona when he was impeached in 2012 due to his failure to declare his dollar accounts,” she added./ac
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