Robredo: Gov’t execs given ‘license’ to hide wealth with lifestyle checks stopped
MANILA, Philippines — For Vice President Leni Robredo, the Office of the Ombudsman has given public officials a “license” to hide their wealth when it restricted access to their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and stopped the conduct of lifestyle checks.
During her weekly radio show on Sunday, Robredo said it was “unbelievable” that the directive came from the office that is designated to look into public officials’ wealth.
“Ilang beses ko binasa, eh. Kasi hindi ako makapaniwala na galing pa sa head ng opisina na dapat nag-iimbestiga,” Robredo said.
(I read it multiple times. I cannot believe that it came from the office whose duty is to investigate.)
“Parang binibigyan mo ng license iyong mga public officials na magtago ng kanilang mga yaman na hindi dapat kasi requirement iyon under the law and the Constitution,” she added.
(It’s like you’re giving public officials license to hide their wealth which is wrong because this is a requirement under the law and the Constitution.)
Robredo stressed that SALNs are a requirement to assure the public that officials are worthy of trust.
“Kapag inalis mo iyong SALN, ano bang mensahe iyong binibigay mo? Anong mensahe iyong binibigay mo sa tao, na ang korapsyon hindi priority ng pamahalaan?” she said.
(If you remove the SALN, what kind of message are you giving? You are giving the public the message that corruption is not a priority of the government?)
While owning luxurious cars and several houses does not necessarily mean that one is involved in corruption, Robredo noted that it is a “red flag” since officials only earn so much.
“‘Di ba red flag ito kasi magkano lang naman iyong suweldo namin? Magkano lang naman iyong suweldo namin as public officials, bawal naman kami magnegosyo, ‘di ba?” she said.
(Isn’t this a red flag since our income is only meager? How much is our income as public officials, we are not even allowed to engage in business, right?)
Robredo was reacting to the Office of the Ombudsman’s declaration of tighter rules in accessing the SALN of government officials.
Apart from this, Ombudsman Samuel Martires also recently disclosed that lifestyle checks on public officials were also stopped as some provisions under the Republic Act 6713 were “vague” and “illogical.”
Martires added that SALNs and lifestyle checks have also been used for extortion.
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