The rules mandate that for “privacy and security reasons,” the director of the House records management service “shall, in all cases, redact or blacken” certain information, including the House member’s address, names of unmarried children below 18 years of age living in his household and exact location of real properties.
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House limits access to info on lawmakers’ SALNs
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will require any journalist or interested party to pay a P300 fee to obtain a copy of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of any of its members.

To access the SALNs of nearly 300 House members, one would have to shell out at least P90,000 – if the request for a copy is granted.

The fee, as stipulated in Resolution 2467 the House adopted on Wednesday, is for the “cost of reproduction and certification, exclusive of mailing cost and other related expenses.”

The resolution also prescribes strict rules on the filing by members of their SALN and access by the media and the public to such documents.

Even if one’s access request is granted and the required fee is paid, not all data about a member and his SALN will be available.

The rules mandate that for “privacy and security reasons,” the director of the House records management service “shall, in all cases, redact or blacken” certain information, including the House member’s address, names of unmarried children below 18 years of age living in his household and exact location of real properties.

Also to be redacted or crossed out so they could not be read are the member’s business and financial interests, names of relatives in government and details of government-issued identification cards.

The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees requires lawmakers and other government personnel to declare their business and financial interests in any corporation or business entity so the public, including the media, would know if there are conflicts of interest, which such law prohibits.

Requests for copies of SALNs of House members, secretariat officers and other employees are to be filed with the office of the chamber’s secretary general in a prescribed form.

Requests will cover only the latest SALNs. Access to previous SALNs may be granted if determined to be justified by the secretary general and a SALN committee composed of several House members.

The requesting party will be asked to provide all information about him, purpose of the request and interest sought to be served and, if applicable, justification for access to previous SALNs.

For members of media, an affidavit of affiliation and a certification from his organization that he is a legitimate practitioner will also be required.

The requesting party will be asked to sign an undertaking that he will not use the SALN for any purpose other than the one stated in his request, will not use it commercially except as news material and will not use it in such a way that it would put the declarant in danger.

There are other prohibitions contained in the undertaking.

The SALN committee is empowered to grant or deny requests. In the case of the SALNs of House members, requests are to be approved by the House itself in plenary session.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Majority Leader Fredenil Castro and members of the SALN committee led by chair Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez of Leyte and vice chair Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza of party-list TUCP are among the principal authors of Resolution 2467.

The other authors are Vicente Veloso of Leyte, Cristina Roa-Puno of Antipolo City, Joey Salceda of Albay, Milagros Magsaysay of Senior Citizens and Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, who all sit in the SALN committee.

Roa-Puno has also tried to impose stricter rules on media coverage in the House.

LIABILITIES AND NET WORTH STATEMENT OF ASSETS
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