MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang insists that the publication of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN depends on the Office of the Ombudsman.
This was the Palace’s response when asked whether the public will ever get to see the wealth records of the Chief Executive.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque advises the public to follow the regulations imposed by the Ombudsman on public access to SALN of government officials.
“May bago pong guidelines na sinusunod ang Office of the Ombudsman. Siguro po dahil po constitutional body ang Ombudsman, dapat pong sundin ang kanilang mga guidelines [The Office of the Ombudsman is following a set of guidelines. Since the Ombudsman is a constitutional body, their guidelines must be followed),” Roque stressed.
Unlike in past administrations, the Ombudsman is no longer allowing the public to see copies of the SALNs.
It can only be provided to a requester if he or she is the declarant or the person who filed the SALN or the duly representative of the declarant, a court order is present or the request is made by the Ombudsman’s field investigation units. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged the Office of the Ombudsman to lay down possible amendments it wants to be made to strengthen the country’s anti-graft law.
In a radio interview, Drilon said Ombudsman Samuel Martires should submit specific proposals to strengthen Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and make the law “more attuned to the present times.”
“Ang sinabi po niya ay 1987 pa ang batas sa Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees kaya akin pong hinihling sa Ombudsman, can we be favored kung ano ang proposed amendments sa batas para mapalakas ang ma-update ang batas?” he said.
“I suspect that the views of the Ombudsman reflects the thinking of the Supreme Court being a former member of the High Court and a Sandiganbayan justice,” he added.
Drilon issued the remarks after Martires said on Tuesday that he has stopped the conduct of lifestyle checks on government officials as he expressed misgivings on the existing provisions of the law.
“Nung umupo ako, pinatigil ko muna ang lifestyle check kasi matagal na ako may duda sa probisyon ng batas tungkol sa lifestyle check. Gusto ko i-propose sa Congress ng amendments sa 6713 kasi yug provisions there, Malabo, walang hulog sa logic,” Martires said.
“Bakit ko pinatigil? What is living beyong your means? Iyong kumikita ng P50,000 a month, lives in a small house, nakaipon, bumili ng BMW na promo, zero interest, kayang-kaya niya hulugan, is he living beyon his means? I don’t think so. What he has are distorted values and distorted priorities,” he added.
Earlier this month, Martires also restricted access to the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth of public officials submitted to his office.
Drilon believes that addressing the concerns raised by the Ombudsman will be a big boost in the fight against corruption.
Corruption cases are brought to the courts, the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan, he added.
“Hence, it behooves Congress to listen to what the judiciary is saying and find out how it can amend the law and make it attuned with the times,” Drilon said.
“We will examine the existing law and we will look at measures to further strengthen the principle of transparency,” he added.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (June 17) ordered an investigation on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and other DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.
“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic,” he said.
Martires also tasked the investigating team to file complaints against any DOH official or employee who would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.
Among the accusations to be investigated include:
Purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health
Delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
Alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
Rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
Inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and
Confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases.
Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on Duque and other DOH officials.
“We will let the process run its course as we enjoin Secretary Duque & the entire DOH bureaucracy to cooperate with the investigation and respect the orders of the OMB,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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