SEN. Grace Poe on Saturday reminded Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima that all government officials have an obligation to declare under oath their assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Poe, who heads the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, made the reminder following reports that Purisima refused to grant the request of a group to make public SALN amid claims that the PNP chief has not been transparent in declaring his assets.
“One of our obligations as public official, aside from serving the public, is the full disclosure of our assets, liabilities and net worth in order to maintain public trust,” the senator said.
Perfecto Tagalog, Secretary General of Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC), has called on Purisima to make his SALN available to the public. Tagalog claimed that his group asked for a copy of Purisima’s SALN to determine if there is truth to allegations that the PNP chief owns several properties in prime locations in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“The public has the right to know how Purisima spends our taxes,” he said.
“If the president is able to make his SALN available to the public, the same is expected from all heads of agencies,” Poe said.
The senator again stressed the need for a Freedom of Information (FOI) law because it would provide the public free access to government information.
Poe noted that with an FOI law, anyone can have instant access to government information through the Internet or though the FOI-help desk that would be put up by all government offices.
Under the FOI bill in the Sebnate, government agencies will be required to upload on their websites the SALNs of the President, Vice President, Cabinet members, senators, congressmen, justices of the Supreme Court, members of Constitutional bodies and officers of the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police bearing star ranks and government officials with salary grade 27 and above.