House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and other legislators should lead the publicization of their Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) and make it easier for the public to request a copy.
This is the reaction of Institute for Political Reform (IPER) Executive Director Ramon Casiple in the face of the resolution filed by Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta requesting a House Inquiry in aid of legislation on the current law. in the filing of SALN by government officials and employees.
The resolution of Defensor and Marcoleta is rooted in the Supreme Court’s rejection of the motion requiring Associate Justice Marvin Leonen to present his covered SALN since he taught as a faculty member of the University of the Philippines (UP).
Since Leonen’s SALN was not released, Defensor and Marcoleta requested a House inquiry about the basic right of every Filipino to know the SALN of public officials.
Casiple, on the other hand, said that the House should be the example in following the law regarding SALN.
“Sa SALN ang concept talaga dyan ay para answerable ang mga public official, kaya ang principle na sinusunod ay accessible dapat yung SALN na yan. Hindi na dapat pang pagdebatehan kung nararapat bang ilabas o maisapubliko ang SALN ng mga nasa gobyerno.Bakit ka nagkaroon in the first place ng ganung klaseng concept ng SALN kung hindi available?,” explained Casiple.
If there is anything that should be open in their SALN, it is none other than the top five government officials including President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.
The issuance of SALN is one of the biggest challenges for elected and government officials, although those in government are obliged to submit SALN annually, they are not released.
In the House, for example, the SALN record is still guarded by CCTV.
It is also not that easy to ask for a copy of it because under House Resolution 2467, anyone wishing to have access to the SALN of legislators must have the final approval of the House Plenary.
So it means that even before a congressman agrees to give his SALN, the Committee on SALN Review and Compliance must first deliberate on it and the requesting party will determine the reason and where to use the SALN.
The requesting party also swore in the sworn undertaking and declaration portion stating that SALN could only be used if the committee agreed to provide a copy.
It is learned that since 2019, when the new rules for obtaining SALN have been drafted, lawmakers have not yet applied for or requested SALN.
The issue of SALN is also one of those thrown at House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, it was first reported that Velasco has shares in large and famous companies in the country based on the company report in 2017.
San Miguel Corporation based on company report in 2017.
It also appears that he is among the Top 100 Stockholders and also has 2 percent shares in Petron Corporation based on the 2017 annual report of the company but these are not declared in his SALN.