Malacañang: Officials now more honest with SALNs
MANILA, Philippines – A year after the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, Malacañang said the trial resulted in one concrete change – government officials are now afraid to be dishonest with their assets list
"Perhaps, the impact immediately that you could already see is the emphasis given on the filing of SALNs (statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth) when it comes to employees of the government," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Wednesday, May 29.
Corona became the first government official successfully impeached after a completed trial on May 29, 2012, for his alleged dishonest disclosure of his assets on his SALNs.
The SALN is a declaration of assets and liabilities required of government employees as part of transparency measures. It is a public document that is mandated to be available to any person requesting a copy, but government offices have made it difficult even for journalists to access them.
Since the trial, the Office of the Ombudsman has issued new rules relaxing public access to SALNs, resulting in the media's acquisition and dissection of SALNs. The Civil Service Commission also revised and improved the SALN form, which corrects the faults found during the trial – complete with a new list of guidelines on how to fill it out properly.
Even candidates in the 2013 elections who were incumbent officials were expected to disclose their SALNs without question.
Valte, however, acknowledged that judicial reforms are still "a work in progress," which President Benigno Aquino III will continue to pursue.
She said unanswered questions from the trial, such as whether or not Corona's wealth is ill-gotten, will depend on the Ombudsman.
Corona is currently facing several tax evasion cases. – Rappler.com