PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has yet to disclose his net worth despite his vow of transparency, according to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).
In a report published on its website on Sunday, PCIJ said its requests for the President’s wealth records had been tossed back and forth between the Office of the Ombudsman and Office of the President.
“President Duterte is breaking a long tradition of presidents making their annual wealth disclosures public year after year, often even without a formal request from the press or the public to do so,” according to the report.
“When President Duterte took office, he promised a more transparent government, but that has not happened,” it added.
Since the law requiring public officials to disclose their net worth was enacted in 1989, all five presidents before Mr. Duterte had disclosed their worth year on year without fail, PCIJ said.
Government officials were supposed to have filed their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth for last year on April 30. The deadline was extended to June 30 amid a coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Duterte will follow the new rules set by the Ombudsman on the disclosure of net worth, his spokesman Harry L. Roque told an online news briefing on Monday.
“We leave that to the Office of the Ombudsman, which is a constitutional body tasked with the implementation of our laws relating to public officers,” he said.
Under a memo issued by the Ombudsman in September, an official’s net worth report can only be released to his authorized representative or upon a court order related to a case. Ombudsman field investigators may also request copies of the statements.
The Ombudsman order also excludes journalists from obtaining copies of the statements.
Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires earlier told a House budget hearing he had stopped conducting lifestyle checks given vague standards in the country’s Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Mr. Martires is a two-time appointee of Mr. Duterte. He was first appointed Supreme Court Justice in 2017 and as Ombudsman in 2018. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Gillian M. Cortez