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SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« on: September 25, 2017, 02:10:19 PM »

CAN 'PRIVACY' TRUMP TRANSPARENCY?

SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs
but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs


by Malou Mangahas
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2017



A CHIEF JUSTICE was impeached in 2012 for failure to declare the true and detailed list of condo units he owned, and pesos and dollars he had in banks.

Ten years prior, a President was forced out of the Palace for collecting millions in kickbacks and commissions from state contracts and excise taxes, as well as for building scandalously opulent mansions for his mistresses. He, too, kept hidden the facts of his wealth, and would be exposed later to have used a fake name to open a fat bank account.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 02:10:41 PM »

Fast forward to today: The allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in the House of Representatives recently endorsed an impeachment complaint against another chief justice. She, too, the complainant averred, did not enroll the true and complete details of multimillion pesos in fees she received as a co-counsel in the government’s case against a multinational contractor, before she was appointed top jurist in August 2012.

Threat of impeachment lurked as well for the chairman of the Commission on Elections, who, by his estranged wife’s claims, did not report multimillion pesos he has raised from a currency trading business. (The Ombudsman has also been named as a target for impeachment for other reasons, however.)

In all these cases gone, going, or coming still, a four-letter acronym of a document has served as the top trigger: SALN, or the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth that all public officials and employees must file upon entry into public service, every year before the April 30 deadline, and upon exit from office.

http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan038895.html
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 02:12:35 PM »

What to redact, why?

Yet now the Cabinet members of the Duterte administration and data-privacy officers in state agencies seem to want to keep under lock and key the most important details of their wealth.

Last Aug. 16, the Malacañang Records Office (MRO) released to data journalists of Entrepreneur Philippines — an online business news and features web site under Summit Media — copies of the SALNs of 28 Cabinet members appointed by Duterte administration. The SALNs provided were invariably outstanding for the details they blacked out, than for the details that they revealed, or must reveal, according to guidelines of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

It is not clear whether some or all of the redactions on these SALNs were made on request of the filers — the Cabinet members — or on decision of the personnel of MRO, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), and Office of the President who have been designated as “data privacy officers” of their agencies. The latter — supposedly called “the Clearinghouse of the OP Family” — made the actual redactions.

They supposedly want to protect the “right to security and privacy” of the Cabinet members, citing as basis the Data Privacy Act or Republic Act No. 10173. But then they seem impervious to the fact that the redactions are clear violations — even an act of “repeal by implication” — of The SALN Law or Republic Act No. 6713, which upholds and the principles of transparency and accountability in public service.

PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan told PCIJ though that some secretaries, including his boss, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, had expressed concern that certain data in the SALN could invite malefactors to harass the filers or their family members.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 02:18:38 PM »

Right to security, privacy?


Multiple redactions had been made in fact on the SALNs that Malacañang released to journalists last August 16. Days earlier on Aug. 4, Ablan wrote Chairman Raymund E. Liboro of the National Privacy Commission requesting “clarification on the disclosure of information in relation to the sworn (SALN) of government officials.”

In it, Ablan said that he was writing on behalf of the PCOO, the Office of the President, the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, and the Presidential Management Staff. Altogether, these agencies make up what Ablan told the PCIJ is called “the Clearinghouse of the OP Family.”

Ablan wrote the NPC: “Pursuant to Executive Order No. 2, s. 2016 or the Freedom of Information in the Executive Branch, all public officials are reminded to make their SALNs available for scrutiny, in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations. However, we have received valid security concerns during our inter-agency meeting on the disclosure of information in the SALNs of government officials to the public.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 02:20:48 PM »

“To balance the right to information of the citizenry and the right to security and privacy of government officials,” Ablan sought an “advisory” from Liboro’s NPC on “Remarks/Recommendations” of the OP Family Clearinghouse to withhold dozens of data that the law and the CSC guidelines prescribe must be disclosed the SALN.

Then again, clear answers to the query and the NPC advisory would come post-facto, or a month after the MRO had already made redactions on the SALNs of Cabinet members that it sent out to the media.

PCOO-Letter-to-NPC-re-redactions.4-August-2017.pdf.html
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2017, 03:14:24 PM »

More redactions

In his request letter for an NPC advisory, Ablan said the data that the OP Family Clearinghouse had wanted NPC to approve on grounds of “the right to security and privacy”. Ablan’s letter also had offered “Remarks/Recommendation that the OP Family wants NPC to approve. These include:

• “Family and Home Address; Name of Spouse including Agency/Office; Office Address and Position; Name of minor children. Remarks/Recommendations: Disclosure of this information may expose the Official’s family to violence and harassment, especially for officers in law enforcement.

• “Exact location of real properties, Transfer Certificate of Title {TCT) No., and plate number of vehicles. Remarks/Recommendations: We propose to redact the exact address and the TCT No., and only disclose the barangay and city/municipality where the property is located including the type description, kind, assessed value, current fair market value, acquisition year, mode of acquisition and acquisition cost. Further, we propose to redact the plate number and conduction number of the vehicle/s for security reason.

• “Business interests and financial connections. Remarks/Recommendations: “We propose that the exact address and name of the business shall be redacted to avoid harassment and disclose only general information related to business interest and financial connections of the declarant.

• “ID number and signature: Request/Recommendation: “We propose to redact these information, which form part of sensitive personal information under the Data Privacy Act of 2012.”
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2017, 03:15:54 PM »

Meetings with PCIJ

PCIJ registered its opposition to the redactions made on the SALNs of the Cabinet members with NPC’s Liboro and with Ablan — whose team of three persons had diligently monitored implementation of President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 2 that instituted a Freedom of Information policy in the Executive Branch.

Three meetings with PCIJ, the NPC and the OP Family Clearinghouse officers and lawyers held in recent weeks revealed, among others, that the latter seemed oblivious to the fact that it is not the Data Privacy Act (Republic Act No. 10173) that should apply in the situation.

Instead, it is Republic Act No. 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, or by shorthand, The SALN Law, that should be the reference in the filing of SALNs.

Too, the meetings clarified that it is not the National Privacy Commission but the Civil Service Commission that is the chief enforcer of guidelines on the proper filing of SALNs, and of the constitutional and statutory provisions on public disclosure.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2017, 03:46:34 PM »

Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2017, 03:47:27 PM »

Deal-breaker for FOI EO

On advise of lawyers, and from interviews with CSC and the Office of the Ombudsman, PCIJ informed Ablan and the NPC that the redactions made might have resulted in “defacing” public documents on multiple counts, and constituted a “repeal by implication” of the SALN law.

Because they mock the authenticity of the FOI EO that the Duterte administration had issued in July 2016, PCIJ told the NPC and the OP Family Clearinghouse that the redactions are a clear deal-breaker for the CSOs that had been engaged in pushing the bounds of the FOI executive order.

To be sure, if only the OP Family Clearinghouse had checked out the relevant laws, the redactions should not have been made in the first place.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2017, 03:48:34 PM »

CSC guidelines

Under circulars it issued in 2011, 2013, and 2016 on the filing of SALNs, the CSC had prescribed more than explicitly that the SALN “should state true and complete declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth, including disclosure of business interests and financial connections of the declarant.”

In 2013 the CSC said that while the declarant shall provide information on his/her address, “whenever a third party request for a copy of the SALN…the agency has the option to shade the declarant’s address for purposes of security.” In short, there is only a conditional authority from CSC for repository agencies to redact just one and only one information in the SALN — the filer’s address.

The 2011 guidelines of the CSC spelled out that:
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2017, 03:52:22 PM »

• “On ASSETS. Assets including those within or outside of the Philippines, whether real or personal, should be declared as well as description of real properties as to the kind, nature, exact location, acquisition mode and year, assessed value, fair market value, acquisition cost of land and/or building, including improvements made.

• Assets whether tangible (i.e. cash on hand, cars, appliances, jewelry, mobile phones) or intangible such as stocks, bond certificates, and the like, denominated in foreign currency shall be converted into the corresponding Philippine currency equivalent at the exchange rate prevailing as of 31 December of the preceding calendar year.

• On LIABILITIES. Nature of liability and name of creditors should be indicated. The declarant must disclose the outstanding balance as of 31 December of the preceding calendar year.

• Disclosure of ALL sources of gross income. For both single and joint filing, declarant must disclose all sources of income whether derived from practice of profession, business, and the like for the preceding calendar year.

• Declaring of Personal and Family Expenses. A new feature of the revised SALN form is the disclosure of the estimated amount of the declarant’s personal and family expenses. In case of joint filing, the declarant and his/her spouse shall declare the estimated amount of their personal and family expenses for the preceding calendar year.”
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2017, 03:53:39 PM »

It must be noted though that the last two provisions cited here from the 2011 CSC guidelines were later removed by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 5, series of 2012/Resolution No. 1200480, after several government agencies raised concerns about the 2011 SALN format.

In 2015, the CSC again instituted a new SALN form. This was followed by the 2016 guidelines that, apart from requiring its use across all agencies, further clarified that:

• “In the declaration of real properties, the form requires the exact location of the property.

• “The Value and the Current Fair Market Value should be based on what is stated in the Tax Declaration of Real Property.

• “The identification of relatives is required to be ‘to the best of my knowledge.’

• “All other declarations are required to be ‘true and detailed.’
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2017, 03:55:00 PM »

• “In case of joint filing, all real and personal properties shall be declared including their respective paraphernalia and capital properties, if there are any.

• “Mortgaged properties are already under the name of the declarant. Hence, the mortgaged properties shall be declared either under real or personal properties. The acquisition cost to be declared shall be the actual purchase price. However, the declarant should declare the outstanding balance of the mortgage loan as of December 31 of the preceding year under Liabilities.

• “Insurance properties should be declared under personal properties. The amount to be disclosed under acquisition cost shall be the amount already paid.

• “Pensions received for the year of declaration should be declared as personal property either cash on hand or cash in bank, as the case may be.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2017, 03:55:30 PM »

• “Shares of stock are personal properties that must be declared. The acquisition cost shall be the total value of the shares of stocks as of December 31 of the preceding year.

• “Earnings and income from other sources must be declared as these either form part of the declarant’s cash on hand or in bank, which shall be determined as of December 31 of the preceding year.

• “Inherited properties are transferred to the heirs by operation of law. Hence, even without a transfer of the property under the name of the declarant, the latter shall declare his/her share in the inherited properties as his/her assets. For the acquisition cost, the declarant shall state zero (0). For real properties inherited, the declarant is required to provide the assessed value and current fair market value found in the tax declaration of the real properties concerned.

• “Minimal valued properties collectively must be declared, according to the nature/kind of the personal property like books; and the declarant may use “various years” as year acquired “in group/bulk.” R.A. No. 6713 does not provide for a ceiling on properties to be declared.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2017, 03:56:12 PM »

• “The outstanding balance of liabilities as of December 31 of the preceding year shall be declared, including personal loans and the names of creditors.

• “Business interests refer to declarant’s existing interest in any business enterprise or entity, aside from his/her income from government while financial connections refer to declarant’s existing connections with any business enterprise or entity, whether as a consultant, adviser and the like, with an expectation of remuneration for services rendered.

• “Relatives in the first degree of consanguinity include the declarant’s father, mother, son and daughter. Relatives in the first degree of affinity include the declarant’s father-in-law and mother- in-law.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2017, 03:56:36 PM »

• “Relatives in the second degree of consanguinity include the declarant’s brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandson and granddaughter. Relatives in the second degree of affinity include the declarant’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandmother-in-law, grandfather-in-law, granddaughter-in-law and grandson-in-law.

• “Relatives in the third degree of consanguinity include the declarant’s nephew, niece, uncle and aunt. Relatives in the third degree of affinity include declarant’s nephew-in-law, niece-in-law, uncle- in-law, auntie-in-law.

• “Relatives in the fourth degree of consanguinity include the declarant’s first cousin.”
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2017, 03:57:29 PM »

Pushback from e-SALN?


The Office of the Ombudsman, meanwhile, had even launched last year the pilot run of its e-SALN project, which would usher in the electronic filing of SALNs with over a million public officials and employees as targeted filers.

The SALN template has been coded under the e-SALN project, and its full rollout is expected to take a few more years. The matter of digital signature, and minor tweaks to the coded template are now being addressed.

Recently, Deputy Ombudsman Cyril Ramos, project head, had stressed in a public presentation that the filing of “true and detailed” SALNs by all public officials and employees upholds the principles of transparency and accountability in public service.
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 03:59:11 PM »

Ramos said the SALN serves as “an initiatory tool, a wealth-tracker document” in discerning:

• "Public Accountability, as the fundamental laws in which the system is rooted invariably emphasize upholding the time-honored principle that public office is a public trust;

• Conflict of Interest Control, as can be construed from the disclosure requirement of business interest and financial connection including naming and identifying relatives in the government; and

• Wealth Monitoring, as asset disclosure is currently being employed as a tool for detecting possible cases of misuse of public office for self-enrichment.”
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2017, 03:59:47 PM »

Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

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Re: SALNs to impeach CJ, other execs but Palace redacts Cabinet SALNs
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2017, 04:00:36 PM »

First massive redaction

By the reckoning of both the Ombudsman and the CSC, this is the first time that multiple redactions on the SALNs of Cabinet members had been made. The SALNs of Duterte, the senators, and officers of the constitutional commissions, and civil servants across the board do not bear any redactions, except in some cases, and only involving the home address of the declarant, as CSC has so allowed.

Says a lawyer from the Office of the Ombudsman: “Redaction gives you no protection at all. It may even trigger suspicion you are hiding something.” The lawyer does not recall any case of an official exposed to security problems on account of the SALNs, even as he cited the value of these documents for pursuing cases of corruption and unexplained wealth.

Redacting SALNs, if deliberate, “may constitute tampering of public documents,” says the Ombudsman lawyer, and if done on orders of higher officials, the latter could be culpable, too. The lawyer notes that the Data Privacy Act has not expressly or explicitly repealed the SALN law, and thus, “repeal by implication or redaction cannot be allowed.”
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

 

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