Santiago: No sense in signing bank account waivers

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago claims there's no sense in signing a waiver to open one's bank accounts since there are ways on how one can get away with it.

MANILA, Philippines – For senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, there’s no sense in signing a waiver to open one’s bank accounts. After all, there are ways on how one can get away with it.

In a radio interview on Sunday, June 3, the senator explained that there are ways in which government officials can conceal their wealth, like dollar accounts, even after signing a waiver of disclosure.

For one, a government official can easily falsify his declaration in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN) without being discovered.

“No specific department in government is tasked to really check if the officials’ declarations are correct. Besides, we won’t know if what the officials disclose is true since we don’t know what to put there in the first place,” she said.

Santiago added that politicians can withdraw their money from their bank accounts before December, since they are obliged to declare their wealth every end of the year, and deposit the money again come January. This way, they won’t be entering false information in their year-end SALN declaration.

The senator also said that politicians can also choose to put their money into other people’s accounts.

“People won’t know you’re lying unless they investigate further,” Santiago said.

The signing of waiver to open their bank accounts became an issue among government officials when ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona signed a similar waiver when he appeared in his impeachment trial on May 22. He signed the waiver on the condition that the 188 lawmakers who signed an impeachment complaint against him and Senator Franklin Drilon also sign a smiler waiver.

In an earlier radio interview, presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that President Benigno Aquino III does not have to sign a similar waiver since he is very transparent with his SALN declaration since his stint as congressman of Tarlac, and that his wealth is not being questioned.

As for the suggestion of senator Pia Cayetano for Aquino to encourage his Cabinet officials to sign a waiver on their bank accounts as part of his efforts towards transparency in his government, Valte said that the he does not have to require them to sign a waiver. – Rappler.com

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