Presidential aspirant former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sees no reason why statements of assets, liabilities and net worth should be made public if it would be used to politically attack government officials.
In an interview on the YouTube channel Luminous, Marcos suggested that the time a SALN may be given would be when cases are filed "but maybe not to the public but certainly to the agents of the court or the court itself."
"I think that might be a workable partial solution because lahat ng pulitiko may kalaban. Makakahanap, gagawan yan ng isyu kahit walang isyu. My prime example is Corona," Marcos said, referring to the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
On May 29, 2012, the Senate impeachment court on a vote of 20-3 found Corona guilty of violating Article II of the Articles of Impeachment for his failure to disclose certain assets in his SALN.
Marcos was one of the three who voted against Corona's conviction, the other two being senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Asked if he would release his SALN when he's already President and ask the Ombudsman to recall its order prohibiting the release of the wealth declaration documents, Marcos said, "If the purpose is going to be political attack, then why do we want to do that?"
“So if that’s going to be the purpose for some political agenda, then I don’t see why the SALN should be given?" Marcos said.
In another interview on One PH, Marcos was told of a previous statement in October 2021 when he said he was willing to disclose his SALN.
""I was talking about my SALN. I'm perfectly willing to release it," Marcos said.
At The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews aired on Saturday, Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson all agreed that the SALNs of government officials must be made available to the public.
Marcos skipped the said program.
Under the Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, public officials and employees “have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.”
The Office of the Ombudsman had issued a policy restricting the public’s access to SALNs, including that of the President.
Further, the four candidates also agreed that the medical records of the President of the country should be publicized.
Reactions from other aspirants
In a tweet, Robredo’s spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez said disclosing one's SALN is an obligation of a public official to prove his or her honest their public service.
“Ang walang tinatago, walang takot ilabas ang SALN. Obligasyon ito sa Konstitusyon at batas, at patunay na tapat ang isang lingkod-bayan,” he said.
[Those who have nothing to hide, do not fear releasing their SALN. This is an obligation in the Constitution and the law and proves that their public service is honest.]
“Si VP Leni, regular at agarang inilalabas ang kanyang SALN. Paano makapagtitiwala sa taong, sa simpleng bagay na ito, hindi pa kayang tumupad?” Gutierrez added.
[VP Leni regularly and immediately released her SALN. How could we trust a person who could not do such a simple thing?]
Pacquiao, on the other hand, said he would urge all government officials to release their SALN if he wins the race.
“Hindi ko alam kung ano ang gusto ng ibang kandidato basta sa ilalim po ng aking pamumuno, di lang po ang pangulo ang obligadong isapubliko ang SALN kundi maging ang lahat ng opisyal ng gobyerno,” Pacquiao said.
[I don’t know what the other candidates want but under my leadership, not only the president will be obliged to publicize his/her SALN but also all government officials.]
In the same interview, Marcos said joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) with China and ASEAN countries was an opportunity for energy production in the Philippines.
He said that the Philippines would need more joint exploration as the Malampaya gas field’s service contract is set to end by 2024.
“It’s time to start the exploration because the energy is going to be a very big problem again if we are hoping to increase and develop it especially in a manufacturing side, all of these elements have to come together,” he said.
The Malampaya Consortium’s Service Contract 38 began commercial operations in 2001 and will end in 2024.
The Department of Energy (DOE) in December said it wanted to corner more revenues for the government from the operations of the Malampaya as it now looked into the possible license extension of the natural gas-to-power facility’s service contract beyond 2024.
Marcos also said he would consider pushing for the reimposition of the capital punishment to those the society perceives as someone who has no hope.
“Death penalty should only be used, I believe, pagka talagang sinasabing wala nang pag-asa ‘yung tao, that they cannot be rehabilitated, no use to the society, and continue to commit crimes, maybe that’s the time to impose the death penalty,” Marcos said.
Senatorial candidate and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno denounced this proposal of Marcos saying that it would be dangerous for people to have the power to decide for that matter.
“Who in society does he want to do that? Siya, kung manalo siya bilang pangulo? (Him, if he gets elected as president?) Dangerous for any person to have that power,” he said.
Diokno said that crimes could be stopped if the government would start punishing thieves, plunderers, and other criminals, stressing that “it’s the certainty of punishment that stops crime, not it’s severity.”
He also maintained his earlier position that the death penalty is anti-poor and should not be revived. —NB, GMA News