This time, for a common Juan and Maria like me and for the majority of the population, another term, another Acronym in our vocabulary, SALN or Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth is the talk of the town in relation to the impeachment trial against Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato Corona. The chief was the one who issued or approved the medical treatment abroad of the former President of the Philippines and now under hospital arrest, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. That actually was the start of the suspicion of the Yellow army that leads for them to investigate his relationship to the incumbent Congresswoman of Pampanga.
It’s been almost one and a half years since we elected the son of the former president of the Philippines. Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino is the only son of the slain hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and one of his programs is to clean the decades of corruption in the Philippines. He swore to start it and from the past months, we prove that he is true to his promise, there’s Reyes, Garcia, Ligot, Guttierez who were all either appointed or under the previous administration.
Let me share to you this article below that I found from the web. This is in relation on why SALN is so important for the transparency of a government official to the Filipino people. I am not a lawyer but I am aware of the fact that the Philippines is suffering from poverty, which is due from the repeated greed of those we elected. Filipinos for this 2012 is more or less 95 million and because there are no works available for most of us, a lot of people are living below the poverty line.
Let’s read on why SALN is important and is enough for Corona to be impeached if proven a discrepancy on his submitted SALN.
The Experience of Asset Declaration in the Philippines
By: Assistant Ombudsman Pelagio S. Apostol
Office of the Ombudsman
Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Republic of the Philippines
As an effective strategy to combat corruption and promote ethical conduct in public service in the Philippines, as early as June 18, 1955, Republic Act 1379 was passed and approved into law declaring forfeiture in favor of the State any property found to have been unlawfully acquired by any public officer or employee. This refers to an amount of property acquired by any public officer or employee during his/her incumbency which is manifestly out of proportion to his/her salary as such public officer or employee and to his/her other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property.
In order to effectively implement Republic Act 1379, several legislative measures were installed and one of them is the requirement of asset declaration which is the primary and effective tool to find evidence of illegal enrichment.
On August 17, 1960, Republic Act 3019, as amended, was passed and approved into law, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act of the Philippines. Section 7 of the said Act, expressly states:
“Section 7. Statement of Assets and Liabilities. – Every public officer, within thirty days after assuming office and, thereafter, on or before the fifteenth day of April following the close of every calendar year, as well as upon the expiration of his term of office, or upon his resignation or separation from office, shall prepare and file with the office of the corresponding Department Head, or in the case of a Head of Department or Chief of an independent office, with the Office of the President, a true detailed and sworn statement of assets and liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and sources of his income, the amounts of his personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year; xxx….”(As amended by RA 3047, PD 677 and PD 1288, January 24, 1978) (underlining supplied)
On February 20, 1989, this particular Section of the Act was modified and expanded by the passage of Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the
Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Section 8 of the said Act, expressly states:
“Section 8. Statements and Disclosure. – Public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and 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 eighteen (18) years of age living in their households.” (underlining supplied)
Asset disclosure is mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Article XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution, expressly states:
“Section 17. A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.”
COVERAGE OF THE LAWS
The requirement of asset declaration covers all public officials and employees, except those who serve in an official honorary capacity, without service credit or pay, temporary laborers, and casual or temporary and contractual workers.
This is embodied in Rule VIII (Review and Compliance Procedure) of the Rules Implementing Republic Act 6713.
Corona’s SALNs as SC justice