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MANILA, Philippines - Whether these are in peso or dollar or any other denomination, bank accounts of public officials and employees should be declared in every public servant's Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), according to an official of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
"The law does not distinguish on whether you should declare only your bank accounts that are in peso. What the law simply says is that all public officials must declare their assets including cash in banks. And it's immaterial whether the accounts are in peso, dollar, yen, or any other denomination," Krunimar Antonio Escudero III, acting division chief of the CSC's Office for Legal Affairs, told InterAksyon.com on Wednesday.
The CSC has the primary responsibility of enforcing R.A. 6713 of 1989 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the said law.
In the case of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who admitted before the Senate impeachment court last Tuesday that he has four dollar accounts, Escudero said that because the said accounts are part of the assets of the chief magistrate, "he should also declare that in his SALN."
The CSC official said that Section 8 of R. A. 6713 mandates public servants "to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under eighteen years old who are living in their households."
Escudero said the same section of the law states that in their financial disclosures, public servants must include among others "cash on hand or in banks."
Moreover, he said that Article XI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that, "A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth."
Corona testified last Tuesday that he did not declare his dollar accounts in his SALN because R.A. 6426 of 1974 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines "guarantees the confidentiality of dollar deposits." Corona also did not say how much was deposited in the four accounts.
Escudero argued that those who have decided to enter public service should already be aware of the need to "surrender certain rights."
"Pagpasok mo sa gobyerno, dapat alam mo 'yan. Dapat mas transparent ka. You're no longer a private individual. So kung ayaw mong mabusisi ang net worth mo, huwag kang pumasok sa gobyerno," he said.
[You should already know that when you enter the government. You should be more transparent. You're no longer a private individual. So if you don't want your net worth to be scrutinized don't work in the government].
Escudero lamented that the SALN is not that effective in fighting graft and corruption because many public servants find ways on "how to circumvent it."
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