The CRD, however, informed The STAR that the request would still have to be personally approved by Martires, unlike in previous years when the requesting party would just have to present a government-issued ID and fill out a form stating the purpose for the requested documents.
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Release of Duterte, Leni SALNs suspended
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Samuel Martires has suspended the release to the media of the 2018 statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo, saying his office is currently revising its policy on public access to SALNs.

Staff members of the ombudsman’s Central Records Division (CRD), Public Assistance Bureau (PAB) and the Ombudsman Proper all told The STAR yesterday that the request for SALNs of Duterte, Robredo and several other officials remains pending at the office of Martires.

On April 30, The STAR officially made a request at the CRD for a copy of the 2018 SALNs of Duterte, Robredo and heads of the constitutional bodies, namely Sheriff Abas of the Commission on Elections, Michael Aguinaldo of the Commission on Audit, Jose Luis Gascon of the Commission on Human Rights, Alicia dela Rosa-Bala of the Civil Service Commission as well as the entry SALN and 2018 SALN of Martires.

The CRD, however, informed The STAR that the request would still have to be personally approved by Martires, unlike in previous years when the requesting party would just have to present a government-issued ID and fill out a form stating the purpose for the requested documents.

On May 17, The STAR received an e-mail from the PAB regarding Martires’ directive that an endorsement letter from the newsdesk stating the purpose for the SALN request would have to be submitted on top of the request form.

The STAR submitted the endorsement letter on May 20. As of yesterday, however, The STAR was told that the request remains pending.

A staff member from the Office of the Ombudsman said a reply on The STAR’s request would be sent by post. The staff, however, refused to give additional details on whether the request was approved or denied.

In a letter received by another requesting party, CNN Philippines, the ombudsman said the release of SALNs has been held in abeyance as the agency is in the process of revising its rules.

“Please note that the processing of your request has been held in abeyance pending the review and revision of the policies and rules of the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the release of SALNs,” the letter dated June 18 signed by Assistant Ombudsman Pilarita Lapitan read.

“In the meantime, may we advise that you direct your request to the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President,” it added.

Under Memorandum Circular 6 Series of 2012, issued by Martires’ predecessor Conchita Carpio-Morales, SALNs filed with the Office of the Ombudsman “shall be made available to the public for inspection and reproduction after 10 working days from the time they are filed.”

Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees also mandates public officials and employees to timely file their SALNs, stating that “the public has the right to know their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests, including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.”

The Constitution also guarantees the public’s right to information.

“Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law,” Article III, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution states.

LIABILITIES LENI ROBREDO STATEMENTS OF ASSETS
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