PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not making a conscious effort to conceal his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), Malacañang said on Wednesday.
In an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that Duterte’s non-release of his SALN is because he was complying with new guidelines set by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Roque said Duterte has filed with SALN for the years 2018 and 2019 even if the documents were not made public.
“I don’t think there is a conscious effort to conceal because he has complied with it. But he is just respecting the recent guidelines issued by the Ombudsman because, after all, the Ombudsman is the constitutional body tasked with promoting accountability on these public officers,” he said.
“So all he is saying is, let’s respect the guidelines issued by the Ombudsman, and let’s comply with those guidelines,” he added.
Roque last week vowed to personally ask Duterte if he could release his SALN to show he is not hiding anything.
However, he said he failed to raise the matter to the President in Monday’s Cabinet meeting because discussions were centered around the government’s response to Super Typhoon Rolly.
“Well, the times that we have talked, it’s about the typhoon. So, no, I haven’t brought it up,” he said.
He said he intends to bring it up during a scheduled meeting with Duterte on Thursday.
“We have another meeting tomorrow and he will make another address to the nation on [coronavirus disease] and perhaps there, I will then bring up the matter. But there was no opportunity to do it when we last met because it was all focused on (super) typhoon Rolly,” he added.
Before the Ombudsman’s memorandum circular, a reporter could request for certain government officials’ SALNs by writing a formal letter of request addressed to the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Ombudsman’s Memorandum Circular 1 states that SALNs would now be released only in three situations – if the government official who filed it and his/her official representative made a request; if it is legally ordered by the court in relation to a pending case; and if the request is made through the Office of the Ombudsman’s field investigation office for a fact-finding probe.
In all other instances, the circular said, “no SALN will be furnished to the requester unless he/she presents a notarized letter of authority from the declarant allowing the release of the requested SALN.” Philippine News Agency