Trillanes wants Senate probe into hidden SALN data

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV wants the Senate to look into possible violations related to the release of Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) of some Cabinet officials, which had certain information redacted or blacked out.

In his proposed Senate Resolution No. 514, Trillanes wants the Senate committee on civil service, government reorganization, and professional regulation as well as other appropriate committees to conduct an inquiry into the possible violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 6713, or the code of conduct for government officials, and the 1987 Constitution.

The Senate on Tuesday, September 26, referred the resolution jointly to Senator Richard Gordon's blue ribbon committee and Trillanes' civil service panel.

Trillanes' resolution comes following a report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which found that significant details were blacked out in the December 2016 SALNs of President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet officials.

Some of the redactions in the copies made available to the media include the acquisition costs of personal properties or the exact locations of real properties. (READ: Redactions in Duterte Cabinet's latest SALNs 'deal-breaker' for FOI – PCIJ)

Trillanes pointed out that public officials are required to file SALNs under Article XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution. Section 8 of RA 6713, meanwhile, states that the public has the right to access these documents.

In July 2016, Duterte also signed Executive Order No. 2 on freedom of information (FOI), which seeks to promote transparency and accountability of government officials.

But Trillanes said that the significant redactions in the latest batch of SALNs call for an investigation to determine whether the officials violated the law.

"Despite the presence of several legislations calling for the full public disclosure of the SALN, public officials have found a way to circumvent through it," the senator said. (READ: Citizen advocates raise issues in FOI rollout) – Rappler.com