FOI bill compels SC justices to bare assets

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Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) will be forced to disclose their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) under the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill that the House public information panel approved on Monday.

Under existing rules, the SALN of a sitting SC justice will only be released to the public if it is authorized by the court en banc.

The FOI bill mandates government agencies and public officials to disclose all information pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as government research data used as a basis for policy development.

“If this FOI becomes a law, they [Supreme Court Justices] would have no choice but to comply. A Supreme Court resolution cannot override the law passed by Congress.


Moreover, the Constitution and other existing laws already mandate that they disclose their SALN. The FOI only provides the mechanisms how to disclose [them]. If they fail to do so, that is willfully violating the law and the Constitution,” Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez of Akbayan party-list, one of the bill’s authors, said.

He added that the House version of the measure is an improvement of the Senate version because it mandates disclosure of public information even in the absence of a request.
The House version also requires government agencies to publish documents involving big government contracts online.

“Our FOI bill acknowledged that we need to improve our system of accessing information, and since it is supply-driven, this ushers in an unprecedented level of transparency in governance,” Gutierrez pointed out.

“This is not a watered-down bill. We want to strengthen the access to public information, and we won’t approve anything that would jeopardize that,” he said.

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4 Comments

  1. Sweet, sweet, boasting words by Gutierrez and company. They want the Justices of the SC to disclose openly their SALN and bragged that this will improve the past laws of SALN. But they are not saying about the SALN of the Representathieves and Senathieves. Let us recall how they railroaded the Renato Corona impeachment. They had nothing against the man to pin him down other than a faulty SALN which according to law is not impeachable. After they succeeded in impeaching Corona, the public thereafter also demanded that all Senathieves and Representathieves also declare their SALNs to the public. Who among these Representathieves and Senathieves declared their SALN’s open to the public? Non that I know. This is one big anomaly of our lawmakers, they themselves are breaking the laws. This SALN thing must be open for all public servants for the tax payers to know, not only to the SC Justices.

  2. Every public official should fill in a saln & it should be open for the public. If people are getting rich illegally we should know. If people are stealing we should know. & bring in a law where when opening a bank account we have our finger prints & photos taken & kept on record & anyone found opening an account in their name but to be used by rich people to hide their money should get a minimum of 10 years in jail. This will stop people aiding & abetting these crooks.

  3. The SALNs of all officials required to file them should be published on a government website open to anyone for viewing at any time.