Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. won’t force the members of the House of Representatives to disclose the copies of their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
Belmonte made the announcement with a little over a month before the deadline of the mandatory filing of the SALN by government employees, including the members of the House who prosecuted former Chief Justice Renato Corona before an impeachment court because of faulty SALN entries.
“I can encourage them to make it public, but I can’t impose on them,” Belmonte told reporters.
While the lawmakers are required to file SALNs, House rules do not require them to disclose the copies of their SALNs even if these are public documents.
The summary of the House members’ SALN as provided by the House of Representatives Secretary General only ranks the lawmakers from richest to poorest based on their net worth. The summary provides the amount of each lawmaker’s assets and liabilities, but does not identify the nature of the lawmakers’ assets.
Belmonte, however, assured that the summary of the lawmakers’ SALN will soon provide more details of their wealth.
“What can we do is provide a summary of their respective SALNs that will provide more details. I will ask the Secretary General to provide more information in the summary, in consultation with the House leaders,” Belmonte added.
Just this week, former Customs examiner Ana Marie Concepcion Maglasang was found guilty five counts of perjury by the Metropolitan Trial Court over her non-dislclosure of real estate and car properties in her SALN.
Maglasang, who was formerly assigned in South Harbor, Port of Manila, was sentenced to a jail term ranging from four months to one year on top of a P5,000 fine.
It was Corona, however, who suffered the harshest penalty over SALNs. He was convicted by the Senate impeachment court of betrayal of public trust over his untruthful SALNs in May 2012, leading to his ouster as the country’s top jurist.
LLANESCA T. PANTI