Ombudsman Samuel Martires defended the directive that imposes restricted access to government officials’ statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN), saying that the document has been used as a tool to “weaponize” against enemies in politics.
“Sa ekspiryensiya po ng Obudsman, na-weaponize po ang SALN. Ginamit po ito na means para siraan ang isang tao, isang kalaban sa pulitika. You cannot use the SALN if it is against moral and public policy,” Martires said during the budget hearing before the House appropriations committee, adding that the document is not necessary in the prosecution of a graft or plunder case.
Martires also bared that since assuming office, he had ordered a stop to the conduct of lifestyle checks on public officials due to “questionable” provisions of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713).
RA 6713, the same law that requires public officials and employees to file a SALN, requires them and their families to “lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income.” They shall also not “indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.”
“Ano hong pakialam natin? Sino tayo para husgahan ang taong ito… anong pakialam natin sa buhay ng may buhay kung hindi naman nagnanakaw? What is simple living to me may not be simple living to you or anyone,” Martires added, stressing that a government official with “distorted values or priorities” and lives beyond his means cannot be immediately accused of committing a corrupt act.