MALACAÑANG on Monday said all government officials should be subjected to lifestyle checks to ensure that they live within their means and are not involved in any wrongdoing.
“Lifestyle check [covers]all government officials. In one way or another, [we]are all subject to lifestyle check because we’re supposed to lead lives equivalent to the standards of our compensation, standards of what good governance should be,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
The official made the remark in reaction to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manule Roxas 2nd’s directive that all officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) undergo such probe in order to find out if they have ill-gotten assets.
“This is not limited to DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] and the DOF [Department of Finance],” Lacierda told a news briefing.
According to him, the Office of the Ombudsman is mandated to conduct lifestyle checks based on a complaint against any official.
In fact, Lacierda said, the Finance department has been conducting lifestyle checks on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“It’s not something new. That is something that is expected for all of us in government to see whether our means, our lifestyle exceeds our means,” he added.
Lacierda noted that all government officials, not only the PNP, should welcome the call of Roxas.
“Let me just emphasize [that]this is not the first time that [this]is happening in the government. This has been ongoing. A lifestyle check has been ongoing in the other departments in the executive branch,” he pointed out.
When asked by The Manila Times to clarify whether his statements could mean that a government-wide lifestyle check is in order, Lacierda replied: “[Roxas] initiated lifestyle check in PNP and incidentally, not sure of this since they are independent, but doesn’t the Ombudsman also conduct lifestyle check based on complaints they receive?”
What he is definitely sure of, he explained, is that such checks in the DOF, BIR and BOC “have been ongoing based on complaints and also based on perangbayan.com.”
Perangbayan.com is the government website that indicates where government funds are spent. Also, it is a platform where complaints on officials’ lavish lifestyles or suspected ill-gotten wealth can be relayed to higher authorities.
Roxas earlier announced that he was planning to coordinate with the BIR for possible lifestyle checks on members of the PNP over reports on the allegedly huge assets accumulated by some police officials.
The DILG chief said the lifestyle checks aim to weed out corrupt PNP members and have them punished for any misdeed.
Roxas was prompted to call for such probes in the wake of recent criminal incidents involving PNP personnel such as the robbery along EDSA in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) that was caught on camera and went viral this month.
The photo led to the arrest and surrender of the police officers and civilian assets who were involved in what turned out to be a “hulidap,” a colloquial term for kidnapping and hold-up.