By Kaela Gabriel

PHOTO: Esquire Philippines

Three senatorial aspirants have agreed to publicizing the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN) of public officials to combat corruption and promote transparent governance.

In the third episode of the senatorial forum series conducted by the CNN Philippines this January 30, the attendees of the discussion, Neri Colmenares, Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, and Samira Gutoc, all “human rights defender”, emphasized the importance of transparency through SALNs in aiming for a ‘clean’ government.

According to Colmenares, SALN is an ‘anti-corruption mechanism’ and mandated by the law when it comes to public officials. 

“The SALN is an anti-corruption mechanism and it’s really distressing that the president doesn’t even set a good example, a good model to all the public officials. I mean an ordinary municipal clerk, an ordinary government employee submits their SALN but the president of the Republic doesn’t want to make it public,” Colmenares said.

Diokno also suggested rectifying the penalties against public officials who refuse to release their SALNs as the current sanction for the said violation is still light, also stressing that there should be no one exempted when it comes to SALN.

“Kailangan din nating lagyan ang kagat ng hustisya pagdating sa anti-graft and corruption natin dahil medyo mababa ang kanilang penalty. I fully support the release of all SALNs because that is how we gauge whether a public official is engaging in ill-gotten wealth or not,” Diokno stated.

He also stated the Republic Act 6713, "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees", to further support his stance on the topic. 

Meanwhile, Gutoc also said yes to publicizing the SALN of government officials, putting emphasis on how it can be an instrument to cease public servants from living their lives with ‘extravagance’.

“I am in favor of this, it is an instrument by which there can be a culture of shame in seeing that we are able to avoid the extravagance that comes with usual public officers na hindi nahihiya lumaki ang kanilang kayamanan sa napakasimpleng buhay dapat ng public servant,” Gutoc noted,

The CNN senatorial forums are held weekly to inform the masses of the candidates’ platforms, stance, and principles on issues faced by the country. Senators Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, and Juan Miguel Zubiri also previously took on the platform last January 26.

Edited by Phylline Cristel Calubayan