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Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has formed a five-member committee to check if House members and employees committed errors in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).
Belmonte issued Special Order 05-12 creating the panel, to be chaired by Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado, a member of the House minority.
The move came just weeks after former Chief Justice Renato Corona was removed from his post for failure to declare properties and sums of money in his SALNs through an impeachment proceeding initiated by the House. Aside from Aumentado, four other congressmen from different political parties were named as members of the panel:
- Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao of the Nationalist People’s Coalition,
- Batangas Rep. Tomas Apacible of the Liberal Party,
- Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino of the Lakas-Kampi party, and
- Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
Belmonte earlier said that he had to include House members from different parties into the committee to make sure that the panel’s decision will represent the position of various political groups in the chamber.
The Speaker particularly instructed the committee to check if the SALNs of House members, officials and employees were submitted on time and were properly accomplished.
The members of the panel were tasked to inform individuals who made errors in their SALNs and direct them to take the necessary corrective action.
Belmonte’s instructions to the panel were in line with Section 10 of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
This provision of the law gives both the House and the Senate the power to form committees to establish “procedures for the review" of the SALNs.
The committee was also assigned to formulate rules and procedures for public access to full copies of the SALNs.
The guidelines to be crafted by the panel needs to be approved by a majority of all House members for them to take effect, according to Belmonte’s order.
Most House members, including Belmonte himself, have yet to release full copies of their SALNs to the public.
Last May, the office of the House secretary-general only released a summary of each House members’ assets, liabilities and net worth. — RSJ, GMA News