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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, January 12, 2012
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‘SALNs of solons
open to public’

MANILA -- The Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net-Worth  of members of the House of Representatives are open for scrutiny,  House Secretary-General Marilyn Barua-Yap said yesterday.

"We have a standing directive from Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to keep our records open, especially to media. We do not discriminate,"  she said.

The statement came after the publication of a Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism  report saying the House secretary-general denied their request for copies of the SALNs of members of the 15th Congress.

Ricardo Bering, chief of the House Records Bureau,  said that, as custodians of the SALN records, they just follow the law and the rules and procedures on the matter.

Bering said that a request for a certified true copy is accomplished by the requesting person stating the specific purpose for the request to avoid that such records being used other than the intent of the law.

Bering said that requesting parties could, during regular working hours, do their research at their office and copy the pertinent documents they need.

One of the eight articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was his non-disclosure of his SALN.

Spokesmen for the House prosecution team denied that the House of Representatives has a policy of non-disclosure of congressmen's SALN.

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, also spokesman of the prosecution team, said his own SALN has been published since his first term.

House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo  Tanada III,  said the House leadership has not issued any orders to prevent the release of congressmen’s SALNs to the public.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, a member of the 11-man House prosecution team for the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice, said the report on the prosecutors’ supposed non-disclosure of their SALNs will not have any effect on the trial.*PNA


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