Imee Marcos agrees with Ombudsman: SALN ‘weaponized’ to ‘terrorize’ gov’t execs
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Saturday said she agrees with Ombudsman Samuel Martires that Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) are being “weaponized” to “terrorize” government officials.
“Pikon na pikon na kasi si Martires. Totoo naman. Madalas nakikita natin, iniskandalo ka sa dyaryo tapos parang tineterrorize na, wineweaponize na itong SALN,” Marcos said over DWIZ, reacting to Martires’ claim that the SALN has been “weaponized” to damage the reputation of officials in the government.
(Martires is already irritated. It is true. We will often see politicians being scandalized in newspapers and they are later terrorized by a weaponized SALN.)
“I understand what he is saying having been also at the receiving end of it. Lahat ng mga public officials parating tinatakot sa ganyan e (Public officials are being threatened by this.),” she added.
Despite this, the senator still underscored that the SALN as well as lifestyle checks should still be used to gather pieces of evidence during a legitimate investigation.
“Kakailanganin ang lifestyle check, kailangan tignan ang SALN. If it is a legitimate investigation, Justice Martires will abide naman,” she said.
(We still need lifestyle checks, SALN. If it is a legitimate investigation, Justice Martires will abide.)
“’Yung problema naman talaga yung nagiging instrument yung blackmail naman. Ibang usapan kasi kapag ganun,” Marcos went on.
(It’s just that it is being used as an instrument for blackmail. This becomes a different discussion.)
During the House hearing for the budget of the Office of the Ombudsman, Martires defended his position to limit the public’s access to the SALNs of government officials on the grounds that SALNs are being used by opponents of government officials.
Under the Ombudsman’s new set of guidelines, SALNs can be released only in three situations:
• if the declarant, meaning the government official who filed it and his or her official representatives make a request;
• if it is legally ordered by the court in relation to a pending case
• if the request is made through the Office of the Ombudsman’s field investigation office for the purpose of a fact-finding probe
SALNs are used to unveil possible graft and corruption as it makes public an official’s wealth and liabilities corresponding to his or her salary and other ventures while in office.
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