(UPDATED) Is panic gripping Malacañang? Or is this simply a case of overzealous bosses?
Some Palace staffers are disturbed and dismayed by a recent order issued to some departments under the Office of the President (OP). It’s a straightforward and curt order: shred certain government documents and memoranda signed by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III and other Cabinet secretaries.
The President is stepping down a little more than a month now, on June 30.
In an ideal world, the transition to the incoming administration should not only be smooth but should also be accompanied by complete staff work – all key decisions documented and easily accessible, all major policies searchable in both hard copies and electronic files, all fund releases documented from the unit that made these requests and the unit that released and used those funds.
Many of these documents were ordered shredded this week, Palace insiders told Rappler. Some staffers are resisting this, the same insiders said.
They said the instruction includes deleting electronic files and the turnover of certain documents to one particular department under the OP.
Is this even allowed? The national archives law (Republic Act 9470) prohibits government agencies from disposing of their records unless authorized, in writing, by the executive director of the National Archives of the Philippines.
Even the arbitrary “transfer of records” is prohibited because the same law considers transfer (for example, the transfer of documents from the Office of the Executive Secretary to the Presidential Management Staff) as a form of disposing records, according to one veteran government official.
What’s making this worse, say our insiders, is the absence of written instructions on the shredding and transfer. Everything is verbal and that’s why staffers are “frustrated, rebellious.”
On Sunday, May 22, the Office of the Executive Secretary issued this statement. We are publishing it in full:
“All the official documents and communications of the Office of the President are properly archived at the Malacañang Records Office (MRO). No directive involving the destruction or transfer of these documents has been issued by the Executive Secretary to the MRO or to any other office.
The Administration is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to the incoming leadership, as reflected in the issuance of AO 49 and the subsequent issuance of memo directives from the ES to agency heads requiring them to form their respective Agency Transition Committees and to prepare and submit transition reports to aid their respective successors.” – Rappler.com