Malacañang ensures no redactions of pertinent information on SALN of Cabinet officials

admin   •   September 27, 2017   •   5589

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_092617_PCIJ SALN

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang did not deny that its records office made redactions or placed black markings on some of the information stated in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN) of the Cabinet members of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) questioned the matter recently.

PCIJ said it was an intensive redaction of pertinent information on the SALN submitted by the former and present Cabinet members as of December 31, 2016.

According to PCIJ report, from the 29 SALNs it investigated, 167 information was redacted, 28 SALNs gave concealed personal properties, 24 have redactions on the exact location of properties, while 23 SALNs did not show the cost of real properties.

Malacañang promised it will not redact pertinent information on the SALN aside from sensitive and personal information.

“And we learned also that four out of the six SALN repository agencies do redact the names of the unmarried minor children and the home address, then those will be redacted upon request.so the acquisition cost and the total net worth, the total assets, and the total liabilities will be disclosed,” said Presidential Communications Office Asec. Kris Ablan.

The National Privacy Commission pointed out that it is the right of the public to know the cost of the properties of public officials in accordance with transparency and important information must not conceal.

“The SALN law, for instance, what are the required fields? Real property, assets, liabilities, and net worth. Even if you look at these through the data privacy act, these are not sensitive personal information, therefore there is no restriction, hindrance, there’s no need to redact this information because they are information that is covered by the law,” said National Privacy Commission Deputy Commissioner Ivy Patdu.

The Palace has mentioned before that it has made redactions to protect the right to privacy of the government officials. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

Ombudsman suspends lifestyle checks on government officials, employees

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Samuel Martires has temporarily suspended the conduct of lifestyle checks among government officials and employees.

“Ngayong ako’y nag-assume bilang Ombudsman, ipinatigil ko muna iyong lifestyle check dahil matagal na ako may question. May duda ako sa probisyon ng batas tungkol sa lifestyle check,” Martires said.

[Now that I assumed as the Ombudsman, I ordered the suspension of lifestyle check because I personally have questions regarding it. I doubt the provision of the law on lifestyle check.]

During Tuesday’s (September 22) hearing at the Lower House on the 2021 proposed budget of his office, Martires clarified why he also imposed stricter rules on the release of a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) of government officials. 

Martires observed that many use such an important document for their own interest just to pin down their rivals.

The Ombudsman stressed the need to amend Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees because it is, most of the time, misconstrued. 

“I was about to propose sa Congress to amend Republic Act 6713 because there are provisions there na hindi malabo pero parang walang hulog sa logic [which may be clear but illogical],” the former Supreme Court Justice said.

Martires believes no one has the right to judge any government employee for his or her priorities in life or if he or she chooses to live beyond his or her means.

“Let me explain why I suspended it. They say: ‘You are living beyond your means.’ There’s a government employee who earns about P50,000 a month and tries to save his money so he can buy his dream car. He was able to save money. When BMW announced a sale, he was able to give a down payment. He is able to pay for it monthly. Can we say he is living beyond his means? I don’t think so. Probably he must have distorted values. He must have distorted priorities,” he shared.

“Ano ang pakialam natin sa buhay ng may buhay kung hindi naman siya nagnanakaw? Kung wala siyang inaagrabyadong tao? Kung siya’y nangungutang lang para masunod ang layaw niya? [Why bother with another person’s life when he is not stealing anything? When he is not aggrieving anyone? If he borrows money just to buy himself luxury?] I mean this is something that we really have to re-define,” he added.

But the official clarified that his strict policy on the release of SALN is limited only to SALNs under the custody of his office.

He explained that a SALN has no use in several cases in court even in plunder but many are using it as well as the policy for lifestyle checking to malign the person of an employee of the government.

As for the agency’s budget, Ombudsman Martires expressed dismay over a slash in their proposed budget amounting to P4.6-B which they planned to use for hiring additional personnel for them to effectively execute their mandate.

Moving forward, the official wants to create a bureau that will focus on the administrative cases against public servants and to hire additional field investigators. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Privacy Commission allows employers to install monitoring software in company-issued devices of WFH employees

Marje Pelayo   •   June 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) says ‘yes’ to employers who would want to install monitoring software in company-issued devices to monitor their work-from-home (WFH) employees. 

However, the NPC clarifies that such a decision must adhere to the provisions of the Data Privacy Act (DPA) which ensures that the rights and freedom of WFH employees remain protected. 

The agency explains that “monitoring employee activities when he or she is using an office-issued computer may be allowed under the DPA, provided the processing falls under any of the criteria for lawful processing under Sections 12 and/or 13 of the law.”

Specifically, the NPC details the following obligations of employers in monitoring their WFH employees without breaching their privacy:

  • Employers must notify their employees that they are being monitored and why it is necessary. 
  • Employers should conduct a privacy impact assessment of the monitoring software to determine potential risks and to be able to find ways on how to mitigate them. 
  • Employers should also have clear guidelines on monitoring procedures. 
  • Excessive and disproportionate mechanisms in monitoring are discouraged such as tracking mouse movements, recording keystrokes, taking random photos of the computer screen, enabling webcams to take a picture of the employee, etc.
  • Employers can not require employees to stay on video during office hours or even during overtime work as this is considered excessive and there are other available means of ensuring that employees are doing their assigned tasks.
  • Employers must provide proper ICT equipment, support facilities and mechanisms to the employees to ensure that personal data processing systems being used during WFH are secured.

Meanwhile, the NPC noted that both employers and employees must be guided by data protection and privacy policies at all times.

“We expect employers, whether in the government or the private sector, to process personal data responsibly and with accountability in order to address existing health threats brought by COVID-19,” said Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro.

“We also expect employees to cooperate to reasonable and appropriate collection of their information to mitigate COVID-19 related risks and keep their co-workers and visitors safe,” he added.

Liboro hopes that the guidelines will be able to produce best practices not only in the workplace but also in homes of employees working remotely.

CSC extends deadline for SALN filing to June 30

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Service Commission (CSC) on Tuesday announced it has extended the deadline for the filing of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for government employees amid the enhanced community quarantine being enforced in Luzon against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an advisory, the CSC said the deadline for SALN filing has been moved to June 30 from its original deadline of April 30 in line with the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 crisis.

This is in accordance with the Memorandum Circular No. 9, series of 2020 issued by CSC chairperson Alicia Bala on April 3, which gives additional 60 days for public officials and employees to file their SALN for the year 2019.

“Those filing their SALN Forms between the period after April 30, 2020 and June 30, 2020 will not be subjected to any administrative case relating to the non-filing of the SALN Form,” the memo states.

“However, those not filing their SALN Forms will still be liable if they fail to file the same by June 30, 2020,” it added.

The memo also stated that departments, agencies, and offices are given until August 31 to submit the SALN forms to the appropriate repository agencies.

“The foregoing parameters shall be subject to changes in case of any further issuances by the appropriate authorities, department and/or task force pertaining to the national emergency brought by COVID-19,” the memo reads.

The CSC also reminded government workers to use the correct SALN Form and Additional Sheets Form (Revised as of January 2015).

Under the law, all public officials and employees are mandated to file a SALN.

Luzon has been under community enhanced quarantine since March 17 to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The measure limits the movement of people, mass gathering, and suspended the operation of mass transport and work in various industries.

The community quarantine is supposed to end on April 12 but the government extended it to April 30.

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