Progressive bloc of partylist representatives sign waiver on bank secrecy
The progressive bloc of partylist representatives in Congress has signed waivers on their assets and bank accounts in response to the challenge for greater transparency and accountability brought about in part by the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“The signing [of] unconditional waivers allowing the Ombudsman to look into our assets and bank accounts for the purpose of investigating any report or complaint against us for graft and corruption,” the progressive partylist representatives said in a press conference.
Those who signed the waiver were Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Rep. Teddy Casino, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano, Gabriela Womens Party Rep. Emmie De Jesus, Rep. Luz Ilagan, ACT Teachers Party Rep. Antonio Tinio, Kabataan Party Rep. Raymond Palatino.
The representatives waived their rights under Republic Act No. 1405 or the Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits, which guarantees the absolute confidential nature of all deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities and Republic Act No. 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines, which guarantees the absolute confidential nature of all foreign currency deposits authorized under the laws.
They also authorized the Secretary General of the House of Representatives to release to the public copies of their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for all the years that they served as representative of Congress.
Last Tuesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona during his testimony at the Senate impeachment court has signed a “conditional waiver” allowing the opening of his bank accounts and the release of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). He also challenged the 188 members of the House of Representatives who signed the impeachment complaint against him and to Senator-judge Franklin Drilon to do the same. However, in resuming his testimony last Friday, Corona gave the Senate “without any condition” his waiver authorizing all banks to open all his dollar and peso accounts.
As signatories to the Corona’s impeachment complaint and representatives of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, progressive representatives said that “it is their duty and moral obligation to set an example in complying with the Constitutional mandate on public office as a public trust.”
The signed waiver authorizes the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Anti Money Laundering Council, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Land Registration Authority to disclose to the public any and all information regarding their assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections.
Likewise, the waiver also authorizes the House of Representatives to release to the public copies of their SALNs during the years that they served as representatives of Congress.
Moreover, they challenged the Aquino government to “walk the talk” on corruption. They demanded that President Aquino should apply the “same zeal” he had in pursuing Corona against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her conspirators.
According to Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, “the biggest task of the Aquino administration is to go after former President Arroyo.” The farmer solon stressed that the public has yet to see sincere efforts from President Aquino towards Arroyo’s punishment and resolution of lingering peoples’ issues.
“Arroyo remains scot-free and unpunished because of the Aquino administration’s outright political patronage and condonation of the former President’s grave offenses. As far as we are concerned, Arroyo is still the biggest plunderer and violator of the Philippine Constitution. We strongly challenge the Aquino administration to use all its powers to bring the former President to jail and give justice to millions of Filipinos who suffered under Arroyo’s corrupt and repressive rule,” Mariano said.
The solon also warned against the creation of a pro-Aquino Supreme Court. Farmers will remain vigilant and oppose any attempts to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision on Hacienda Luisita’s distribution and the coco levy funds.
From Progressive solons sign waiver on bank secrecy
Other Congressmen who indicated their openness to have their assets and accounts opened to scrutiny are:
Rep. Roilo Golez,
Rep. Angelo Palmones,
Rep. Emmeline Aglipay,
Rep. Joel Duavit,
Rep. Walden Bello,
Rep. Imelda Calixto Rubiano,
Rep. Simeon Datumanong,
Rep. Amado Bagatsing,
Rep. Tupay Loong,
Rep. Emmy de Jesus,
Rep. Winnie Castelo,
Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy,
Rep. Joey Zubiri,
Rep. JV Ejercito,
Rep. Emil Ong,
Rep. Neri Colmenares,
Rep. Theresa Bonoan David,
Rep. Isidro Lico,
Rep. Julieta Cortuna,
Rep. Florencio Noel,
Rep. Jesus Celeste,,
Rep. Toby Tiangco,
Rep. Ponciano Payuyo ,
Rep. Kim Cojuangco,
Rep. Abigail Ferriol,
Rep. Gabriel Quisumbing,
Rep. Ben Salimbangon,
Rep. Rachel del Mar,
Rep. Antonio Tinio,
Rep. Rafael Mariano,
Rep. Emmy de Jesus, and,
Rep. Luz Ilagan.