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MANILA, Philippines - The 28 members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives said Wednesday they are prepared to open up their Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) for public scrutiny, a day after Chief Justice Renato Corona was removed from office through an impeachment trial that found him guilty of not declaring all his assets.
In a news conference Wednesday, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez signed a document addressed to the Speaker of the House authorizing the concerned office in the chamber to furnish all parties a copy of his SALN after a written request.
The “waiver,” as Suarez called it, however, did not include authorization to look into his bank deposits. Asked about this, he said anybody who wants to know how much money he has in banks may write him a formal request, and he would respond by authorizing the banks to issue the information.
Asked if former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a member of the minority bloc, would release her SALN as well, Suarez said, “I don’t see any problem with the (former) President.”
“Many senator-judges said they give due credit to the statement of the Chief Justice to open [the documents] for public consumption and spirit of transparency, then by all means let’s open,” he said.
Suarez is a key leader of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) party, the party of Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, one of the 20 senators who voted to convict Corona.
Revilla is party president.
Another Lakas-CMD member, Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid, also voted to convict the chief justice.
While acknowledging that some members of the party believe that the trial has many flaws, Suarez said that voting for either acquittal or conviction was the call of the individual senator-judge.
Asked what effect the Corona verdict had on Arroyo, who appointed the chief justice to his post, Suarez said he believed that the former President was “sad and disappointed.”
He said he would try to meet with Arroyo Wednesday night.