Solon reminds Marcos: Failure to file SALN 'an impeachable offense'

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FILE PHOTO: Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr,Philippine presidential candidate and son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, gestures during an interview with AFP in Manila on May 19, 2010. (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

Senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares criticized Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for his plan to withhold his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Network (SALN) from the public.

“But that is the law. We cannot have a president who violates the law. Hindi pa nga nagiging presidente, may impeachable offense na [na binabalak] (He’s not even president yet, yet he already plans to have an impeachable offense),” Colmenares said.

Colmenares, who happens to be the president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), cited Section 8 of Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which penalizes the failure to file a public official's SALN.

The law reads:

Public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age living in their households.

Section 8 also includes a clause on the accessibility of the SALN to the public.

Any statement filed under this Act shall be available to the public for a period of ten (10) years after receipt of the statement. After such period, the statement may be destroyed unless needed in an ongoing investigation.

Colmenares’ response comes after Marcos Jr. expressed that he does not intend to release his SALN to the public should he become president if it was going to be used for “political attacks.”

“Depends on what the purposes are for making them public. If that purpose is going to be for political attack then why would we want to do that?” the dictator’s son said.

Marcos Jr. only agrees that a SALN should only be disclosed to the Court should it be needed, but not to the public.

Lahat ng politiko may kalaban eh. Makakahanap ‘yan, gagawan ng issue ‘yan kahit na walang issue,” Marcos Jr. said.

(All politicians have enemies. They will find and make an issue out of it even if there isn’t one.)

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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