Palace: Duterte SALN up to ombudsman
President Duterte, who has vowed to be tough on corruption and crime, has drawn flak for not releasing his SALNs for 2018 and 2019.
Presidential Photo/Alfred Frias
Palace: Duterte SALN up to ombudsman
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is leaving it up to the Office of the Ombudsman to decide on the release of President Duterte’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) as it advised the public to follow procedures in requesting for the document.

Duterte, who has vowed to be tough on corruption and crime, has drawn flak for not releasing his SALNs for 2018 and 2019.

It was the first time in the last three decades that a president has not made the document public, according to a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

Last month, the Office of the Ombudsman limited access to SALNs of officials, a move some sectors view as a setback to efforts to promote transparency in government.

A copy of an official’s SALN may only be released if the requester is the declarant or the duly authorized representative of the declarant; the request is upon lawful order of the court in relation to a pending case; and the request is made by the ombudsman’s field investigation office, unit or bureau conducting a fact-finding probe.

Copies of SALNs may also be released if the requester presents a notarized letter of authority from the declarant allowing the release of the requested document.

“We leave that to the Office of the Ombudsman which is a constitutional body tasked with implementation of our laws relating to public officers,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing yesterday when asked whether the public will be able to access Duterte’s SALN from 2018 onward.

Pressed whether the public should write to the Office of the President to seek permission to access Duterte’s SALN, Roque replied: “If that is what the ombudsman said, I advise you to comply with it.”

Roque disputed the claim that the stricter rules on obtaining SALN’s are contrary to the government’s policy on transparency. Duterte is breaking a long tradition of presidents making their annual wealth disclosures public, critics said.

“I don’t think so because the Office of the Ombudsman has new guidelines... The ombudsman is a constitutional body so we should follow its guidelines,” he added.

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