MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not mandated to release a copy of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the media and “to whomever wants it,” Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued this statement after the report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) saying Duterte has not released a copy of his SALN eight months since the April 30 deadline for its filing.
“The President has complied with what the Constitution or law requires – the timely submission of a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Neither instrument requires the President to personally and directly furnish a copy thereof to the media or to whoever wants it. There is a mandated procedure under the law to access the same,” he added.
He said “the Office of the President is not the repository of the SALNs of the President.“
He cited that per Memorandum Circular No. 3 (series of 2015) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), “the instrumentality which has the authority to carry out the provisions of Republic Act No. 6713, it is the Office of the Ombudsman which is the repository of the original SALNs of the President, the Vice President and the Constitutional Officials.”
This circular, he said, was reiterated by the Office of the Ombudsman in its Memorandum Circular No. 1 (series of 2018).
According to him, “it is clear therefore that it is the Office of the Ombudsman where the said SALNs are kept and not the Office of the President.”
“Accordingly, PCIJ may want to direct its request to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the President, can not dictate upon the Office of the Ombudsman the course of action it wishes to undertake relative to such request given that the latter is a separate and independent institution that we have no control of,” he said.
“We take strong exception to the thoughts bordering to innuendo of a few that the failures of the PCIJ in getting a copy of the President’s SALN can be ascribed to the President’s policy on transparency. Such accusation is baseless if not malicious,” he added.