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Chief Justice on Trial

Nationwide drive on how to fill out new SALN form sought

February 3, 2012 12:23pm
Senator Ralph Recto on Friday called on the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to initiate an nationwide information campaign in all government offices on how to correctly fill out the new form of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

“The retooling of the SALN should start in re-orienting the entire bureaucracy on how to fill it up so that no lapses, discrepancies, omissions or concealment would be committed.  A crash course on ‘SALN 101’ should be in order,” Recto, chairman of the Senate ways and means, said in a statement released Friday.

He issued the statement as the Senate conducts the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who is accused of failing to disclose his SALN, among other things. 

Throughout the proceedings, however, there has been a disagreement on what should and should not be included in the document.

“A national awareness program on the new SALN would ensure that no public official would be charged or impeached in the future on the ground of defective execution of SALN,” he said.

Recto specifically said 1.3 million government employees - including at least 18,000 elected officials - who will be filling out the new SALN form before April 30 would need the “expert guidance of the CSC as the issuing authority.”
 
“To succeed as national vaccine against state corruption, the new SALN must be executed with utmost precision for substantial compliance and this could only be addressed via a tutorial on correct filing,” he said.
 
Recto said the CSC, through resolution 1100902, introduced the revised SALN form, which includes new portions such as the declaration of “personal and family expenditures”, “amount of taxes paid,” and “amount and sources of gross income”, which were not included the old SALN form.

He said the new form also requires filers to distinguish which among their personal property and other assets are “tangible” and “intangible.”

Tangible assets include both fixed assets, such as machinery, buildings and land, and current assets, such as inventory. The opposite of a tangible asset is an intangible asset. Nonphysical assets, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, goodwill and brand recognition, are all examples of intangible assets.
 
The senator noted, however, that the CSC may have "overdone" revising the SALN because it would be "impossible" for any ordinary clerk to supply figures about his personal and family expenses since most of his transactions may not be covered by supporting documents such as official receipts.
 
He said the CSC should have just used the American SALN as a template.

He explained that the American SALN gives filers "leeway" to state their expenses in ranges like "from P100,000 – P150,000" and not in absolute figures. — LBG, GMA News
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