We join our fellow journalists, lawyers, and transparency advocates in denouncing Ombudsman Samuel Martires’ proposal to amend the law on public officials’ Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALNs, or Republic Act 6713.
Martires wants further restrictions on how the public and the media could access officials’ SALNs.
He acts as if there are not enough restrictions already in place.
Disclosing one’s SALN is an obligation of a government employee or official. It’s the only publicly available tool to measure a public servant’s integrity and transparency.
And now Martires adds insult to injury by seeking to further dilute the SALNs.
He wants to jail journalists making “commentary” on the wealth statements, among other untenable roadblocks.
The Ombudsman borrows the language of dissent and argues that the SALNs have been “weaponized.”
To put it plainly: even without Martires’ unethical proposals, Filipinos today do not have ready access to information on the wealth and assets of the very people who are sworn to serve them.
So for the Ombudsman to say that journalists and the public have “weaponized” the SALN is to spin a hidden agenda: to scrap transparency in public service and protect those who need to hide their unexplained wealth.
This is unacceptable, and we will count on the collective spirit of our communities to block it. – Rappler.com