Candidates in 2022 elections should disclose SALNs — Escudero
MANILA, Philippines — Candidates seeking posts in the 2022 national and local elections should disclose their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) “ in the spirit of transparency and accountability,” said Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
According to Escudero, who is also seeking a Senate comeback himself, the release of SALNs will boost a candidate’s credibility and integrity, which will help the electorate decide their next choice of public officials.
“Kung alam na mga botante ang SALN ng mga tumatakbo, maari itong makatulong sa ating mga kababayan sa kanilang pagpili ng mga kandidato para sa darating na halalan,” Escudero said.
(If voters know the SALN of candidates, it can help our countrymen in their selection of candidates for the upcoming election.)
“Wala akong nakikitang dahilan para ito ipagdamot sa mga botante kung nais ng kandidato na tunay na maglingkod sa publiko,” he added.
(I see no reason for it to be withheld from the voters if the candidate wants to truly serve the public.)
During his time in the Senate in 2007 to 2019, Escudero filed a bill which sought to require public officials and employees mandatory signing of bank waivers along with the filing of the SALN with the Office of the Ombudsman.
The said waiver would also give the Ombudsman the authority to look into all bank deposits and investment bonds of public servants here and abroad.
“For greater transparency, we should make our SALNs readily available. Kung wala ka namang itinatago, wala kang dapat ikatakot (If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear),” said Escudero.
He added that the execution of a bank secrecy waiver by public officials, particularly those seeking elective posts, would be “proof of their honest intent in rendering public service and as an assurance against theft of public funds.”
However, in 2020, Ombudsman Samuel Martires limited access to government officials’ SALNs, which he said was a move to deter it being “weaponized against government officials.”
The Ombudsman then even went as far as proposing jail time of five years for those who would make public comments or statements on SALNs.
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