Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ombudsman sets stricter guidelines on SALN release

I never intended this blog to be geared towards political matters but lately, more and more political issues have been pissing me off that I can't help but write about them here.  You may have watched over GMA 7 the grilling of Presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo by Mareng Winnie Monsod and Igan.  It was, as what the media coined it, a media suicide.  I recommend that you click on the video below if you happened to miss it on TV.  

Mareng Winnine and Igan were asking Mikey to explain his wealth particularly a P63 Million house in California. Much of their discussion was based on Mikee's SALN or Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth.

Under Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees, the public has the right to know the assets and liabilities of public officials and employees, including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.

Barely a few days after Mikey's so-called media suicide, reports came out that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez issued Memorandum Circular No. 1, which revised the guidelines for obtaining access to copies of SALNs. The memo was reportedly issued last June 16 when the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) was at the height of its research and examination of the SALN's of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for a story about her wealth.  Perfect timing that's blatantly intended to protect the interest of the president and her family while denying the Filipino people of the basic right to access information from a public document such as SALN

In a report at GMA News.TV, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño called the Ombudsman circular "ridiculous," saying SALNs are not confidential documents.

"How can the SALN be effective if the public cannot access it?" Casiño was quoted in the said GMA News report, adding that the Ombudsman--who has the duty to check on public officials--should be "the last person" to issue such an order.

Who wouldn't get pissed with the fact that the Ombudsman, who's a presidential appointee and is known to be a close friend of the first family, obviously works for the benefit of the Arroyos and not that of the country?  I can't wait for the May elections to come.  I can't wait for our chance to change this country. I can't wait for corruption in the government to lessen if not totally die down.   I can't wait to see real leaders running the government with sincerity, honesty, credibility, and political will.  I can't wait.

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