Alejano: Redacted SALNs a ‘mockery’ of freedom of information
Transparency trumps privacy, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said as he lambasted the Palace’s move to redact various information from Cabinet officials’ asset disclosure forms, calling it a “mockery” of President Duterte’s much-touted Freedom of Information order.
Alejano reminded Malacañang that the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth required yearly was meant to be an anticorruption measure so the public can track officials’ changes in wealth while they are in government.
“It appears that the FOI Executive Order signed by the President and all his tough talk against corruption are just for a show. Pakitang-tao lang,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Saturday justified the redaction of “personal data” like the names of family members and locations of the officials’ properties, by invoking the officials’ “right to privacy.”
Abella, however, did not explain why the Palace saw the need to conceal the acquisition costs of properties as reported by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
Alejano reminded the Palace that Cabinet officials are public officials and noted they are covered by the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
He said the Code of Conduct “takes primacy” over the Data Privacy Act.
“If you are a public official, then you are not exempted. In fact, they should be the ones leading by example in the issue of transparency,” he said.
Taking a jab at President Duterte for “not explaining” his side regarding the ill-gotten wealth accusations of fellow former mutineer Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Alejano said: “Here come his Cabinet members following suit, trying to get away [from] anticorruption measures.”
Alejano also reiterated his call to exempt government officials and employees from the Bank Secrecy Law.
“If this administration is serious enough in addressing corruption, we have to strengthen anti-corruption measures and drives rather than weaken them,” he said. /je
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