MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is not required by the law to share to the media or anyone a copy of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), Malacañang said.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement in response to a report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) that states Duterte’s SALN for 2018 has yet to be disclosed to the public since the April 30 deadline for filing.
“The President has complied with what the Constitution or law requires – the timely submission of a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth,” Panelo said.
“Neither instrument requires the President to personally and directly furnish a copy thereof to the media or to whomever wants it. There is a mandated procedure under the law to access the same,” he added.
PCIJ recently reported about the failure of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the President to provide the press a copy of Duterte’s SALN for 2018, nearly eight months after the deadline of its filing on April 30.
The special report also noted since the SALN Law was enacted in 1989, all five presidents before Duterte had publicly disclosed their annual asset statements “without fail, year on year.”
Panelo, however, advised the PCIJ to instead request the document from the Ombudsman, the repository of the original SALNs of the President, the Vice President and members of constitutional bodies.
“The Palace could not dictate on the Ombudsman the course of action it wishes to undertake relative to such request given that the latter is a separate and independent institution that we have no control of,” Panelo said.
“We take strong exception to the thoughts bordering to innuendo of a few that the failures of the PCIJ in getting a copy of the President’s SALN can be ascribed to the President’s policy on transparency,” he added. “Such accusation is baseless if not malicious.”/PN