Hiding SALN adds to public’s mistrust — Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said that not releasing a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) would add to the public’s mistrust with the government.
This, after Ombudsman Samuel Martires, appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte, denied requesting lawyers a copy of the chief executive’s SALN.
Martires also then proposed penalties, including jail time, to individuals who would comment on public officials’ SALNs as he claimed that the document could be used to destroy a person’s reputation.
“Hindi mo maiiwasan na ‘yung tao isu-scrutinize kasi the mere fact na pumasok kami sa gobyerno ano ‘yan part of the deal… The mere fact na ‘yung tinatago mo o ‘di mo mi-ne-make available, dinadagdagan mo lang ‘yung mistrust ng tao,” Robredo explained during the BISErbisyong LENI program on DZXL.
(You cannot avoid scrutiny because the mere fact that you enter the government, it is part of the deal… The mere fact that you are hiding or not making your SALN available only adds to the public’s mistrust.)
The vice president noted that the Ombudsman should investigate those involved in alleged corruption or anomalies, but instead seems to be doing otherwise.
The Ombudsman’s mandate is to protect the public by acting on complaints filed against government officers or employees and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants.
“Pero ngayon… parang ang role niya tuloy, siya ‘yung ngipin ng administration para balikan ‘yung nag-ki-criticize sa pamahalaan. Sobrang baliktad sa mandato ng opisina niya,” she mentioned.
(But now, his role seems to become the administration’s teeth to go after critics of the government. It is against its office’s mandate.)
“Kung public official na wala ka namang tinatago, wala namang problema ikaw mismo ‘yung maglabas… Ano ba ‘yung dahilan na ayaw mo ipakita?,” Robredo said.
(If you’re a public official who is not hiding anything, there’s no problem if you would release it. What is the reason that you do not want to publicize it?)
Robredo further questioned the institution’s actions as it should ensure that the government is free from corruption.
“Pero kung ginagamit ‘yun para sa isang tao o para sa isang grupo, ’yung panggastos ng Ombudsman galing ‘yun sa pera ng taumbayan. So, bakit parang nagiging personal tuloy ‘yung pag-defend? Parang nagiging private lawyer,” she lamented.
(But, if it is used for a person only or for a group, the Ombudsman’s budget comes from the public’s money. Why does it look like the way he’s defending is personal? It’s as if he’s a private lawyer.)