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CSC forms group to review nuances, gaps in SALN laws, issuances
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairman Francisco T. Duque III has convened the Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to review issues and concerns surrounding the SALN.

Among the issues discussed by the TWG include the legal bases of the SALN, the need to declare the assets and properties of the filer’s spouse and children, and the question of whether the SALN should be comprised of one or two forms.

Duque, who heads the TWG on SALN, said, “The CSC came to a realization that there are nuances and gaps in the laws and issuances regarding SALN. Thus, we are now taking the necessary measures to review the form that serves as a tool for public accountability and transparency.”

He added that the SALN review aims to establish clearer guidelines and to avoid token compliance among public officials and employees.

In attendance during the meeting were Assistant Secretary Michael P. Ong of the Office of the Presidential Legal Counsel, Deputy Executive Secretary Alberto A. Bernardo of the Office of the President, Legal Counsel Valentina S. Cruz of the Senate of the Philippines,and Executive Director Annalou S. Nachura of the House of Representatives Legal Affairs Bureau.

Also in attendance were Assistant Chief Ma. Carina M. Cunanan of the Supreme Court Office of Administrative Services, Assistant Commissioner Arcadio B. Cuenco Jr. of the Commission on Audit, Assistant Ombudsman Joselito P. Fangon of the Office of the Ombudsman, and Atty. Wendell P. Bendoval of the Department of Justice.

Director Joanne Lim of the Department of Finance, Assistant Secretary Amelita D. Castillo of the Department of Budget and Management, Assistant Secretary Ester A. Aldana of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Atty. Rica G. Pineda of the Philippine Government Employees Association, and Abdulani Lakibul of the Confederation of Independent Unions also attended the meeting.

As the lead agency for the implementation of the SALN, the CSC issued a revised SALN form and set of guidelines in July 2011 by virtue of CSC Resolution No. 1100902. The revised form was set to replace the 1994 SALN form and required a listing of other sources of income (derived from the practice of a profession or business) and income taxes paid the previous year, and amounts of one’s personal and family expenses.

However, in March of this year, the CSC deferred the use of the revised SALN form in the wake of several requests for deferment from various government groups, including public sector unions/confederations.

Thus, the CSC ordered the use of the 1994 SALN form for filing of assets for year 2011.

Section 17, Article XI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates any public officer to declare under oath his/her assets, liabilities, and net worth. This requirement of the Constitution is supported and reiterated by laws such as Executive Order No. 292, Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.