Palace says Duterte’s SALN available at Ombudsman’s office

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PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) is available to the public at the Office of the Ombudsman,
Malacañang said on Friday, countering a report of its “alleged failure” to provide a copy to the media.

“The Office of the President is not the repository of the SALNs of the President. Per Memorandum Circular No. 3 (series of 2015) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the instrumentality which has the authority to carry out the provisions of Republic Act No. 6713, it is the Office of the Ombudsman which is the repository of the original SALNs of the President, the Vice President and the Constitutional Officials,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said.

In a report entitled “Duterte’s secret SALN: The lie of his FOI (Freedom of Information)” published Dec. 4, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) said the Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman failed to provide a copy of the President’s 2018 SALN, noting that this is the “first time in the last thirty years a President has not released his or her SALN.”

Mr. Panelo said the President submitted on time a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth, adding that “neither instrument requires the President to personally and directly furnish a copy thereof to the media or to whomever wants it”.

“Accordingly, PCIJ may want to direct its request to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the President, can not dictate upon the Office of the Ombudsman the course of action it wishes to undertake relative to such request given that the latter is a separate and independent institution that we have no control of,” he said.

All government officials and employees are required to submit an annual SALN to the Office of the Ombudsman by April 30.

“We take strong exception to the thoughts bordering to innuendo of a few that the failures of the PCIJ in getting a copy of the President’s SALN can be ascribed to the President’s policy on transparency. Such accusation is baseless if not malicious,” Mr. Panelo said.– Genshen L. Espedido