Duterte not keeping anything from public despite non-release of SALN – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not keeping anything from the public, Malacañang said Tuesday despite the non-release of the chief executive’s Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
“I do not know if that has not been made available but what I’m sure about is that it has been filed,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said when asked why it has been taking some time to release Duterte’s SALN.
“I don’t think the President is keeping anything from the public,” he also said.
Despite requests being made to disclose the document, the President’s 2018 and 2019 SALN have yet to be made public.
“The fact is, he is the only branch of government that has in fact issued an issuance, an Executive Order No. 1 on transparency and that is FOI [freedom of information] in the executive branch of government,” Roque said.
“If you think it is not being made available to you, I enjoin you to resort to the EO 1 in seeking the document that you want,” he went on.
Under Duterte’s EO on Freedom of Information, government officials are required to “file and make available for scrutiny” their SALN in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations.
Duterte signed the executive order on June 30, 2016. But in 2019, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) said it is the first time in the last 30 years that a President has not released his or her SALN.
PCIJ said it made multiple requests for the President’s SALN but they were “tossed back and forth” between the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Invariably, all such requests filed in a series from June to November 2019 were denied because of an identical reason: The Ombudsman has yet to finalize its new guidelines on the release of the SALNs of the President and other senior officials,” PCIJ’s report said.
The Office of the Ombudsman reportedly said recently that new guidelines for SALN release were still “due for publication.” Ombudsman Samuel Martires did not detail when it would be disclosed.
Former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had likewise said that Duterte is not mandated to release his SALN to “whomever wants it.”
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