House to allow corrections in members' assets statements-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
MANILA (Updated 1:46 p.m.) -- The House committee tasked to review the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of all 285 legislators said it will allow corrections but stressed that non-declaration is another issue.
"The committee will be able to find out if the amounts used to compute the net worth are incorrect. In the case of the Chief Justice (Renato Corona), he did not declare (his assets) and if this is the case in the committee review, then we will look at the non-disclosure," Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino said in a text message.
Antonino, along with Representatives Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela), Tomas Apacible (Batangas), and Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), will compose the committee; while Bohol Representative Erico Aumentado was designated as the chairman.
Aumentado, a member of the House opposition, is also the chairman of the House committee on ethics.
House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Quimbo, who was a spokesperson in the impeachment trial of Corona, pointed out that corrections that may be allowed are only in terms of the compliance to the SALN items required.
"For instance, issues concerning acquisition cost, if left blank, must be corrected in order for it to comply with the law, for instance. A failure to declare entirely a property is what cannot be the subject of a correction," he stressed.
Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello, for his part, said the House committee should not allow the correction if it is proven to be a "willful misrepresentation."
"If errors are minor, there should be no problem in correcting them. But if they're massive like Corona's dollar and peso accounts, that's not an error. That's willful misrepresentation," Bello said in a text message.
Bello, meanwhile, added that there is no more need to review guidelines on the release of SALNs because the law already provides that these should be available to the public.
Bello is one of at least seven lawmakers who have voluntarily released their SALNs.
The review of the House members’ SALN is covered by a special order dated June 18 issued by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
The committee is tasked to ensure that House members’ SALN "are complete and in the proper form." The order was in pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The SALNs of public officials became a hot topic after former Chief Justice Corona was removed from office for his untruthful declaration of his assets and net worth.
It was the House of Representatives, with at least 188 signatories, that initiated the complaint against the former chief magistrate. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)