Cebu City Orders Local Officials

CEBU CITY (PNA) - The Cebu City Council has passed a resolution requiring all City Government officials, both appointed and elected, to disclose their bank accounts, particularly foreign currency bank deposits.

The resolution, filed by Cebu City Councilor Edgardo Labella, will require public officials to sign a waiver of their right to keep foreign currency bank deposits confidential when they file their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

The resolution also urges Congress to address a conflict between Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and RA 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act, which guarantees the confidentiality of foreign currency deposits in Philippine banks.

Then chief justice Renato Corona cited RA 6426 to justify his decision to omit foreign currency savings in his SALN.

After adopting the resolution, Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. moved that all City Hall employees should sign waivers, as well.

Labella said, though, that not all City Hall employees can be compelled to sign waivers because there is no law requiring them to file SALNs.

Still, the council approved Pe's motion.

Since the councilors SALN are with Office for the Ombudsman-Visayas, Pe said the waivers should be submitted to the anti-graft office.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he is willing to waive the confidentiality of his bank deposits, but added that government officials should instead focus on serving the public.

"Everybody has gone crazy over the SALN when we should be crazy about building this nation. We are now even requiring the janitor to sign a waiver. This is a never-ending discussion about SALN," he said.

But he challenged other public officials to be truthful in their SALNs.

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