Will Duterte voluntarily release his net worth reports? Roque to discuss possibility with the President

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 29) — President Rodrigo Duterte will be consulted if he is willing to voluntarily disclose his two years-worth of statement of assets, liabilities and net worth amid the strict rules imposed by the Ombudsman, his spokesperson said on Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said they are only abiding by the decision of the Ombudsman to restrict access to SALNs. But he said they will discuss possible workarounds amid growing calls for the release of Duterte's 2018 and 2019 net worth, adding the President is transparent with his financial status.

"Tayo ay sumusunod lang sa guidelines na sinet ng Office of the Ombudsman pero maguusap kami ng Presidente para matapos na po itong issue na ito," he said in his media briefing. "Tatanungin ko na po, baka naman magbigay ng permiso ang Presidente para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN."

[Translation: We are just following the guidelines set by the Office of the Ombudsman. But I will discuss this with the President to put an end to the issue. I will ask if he will give his permission to publicize his SALN.]

Last month, the Ombudsman ordered that a copy of a public official's SALN may only be provided if the requester is an authorized representative of the declarant, the request is upon lawful order of the court in relation to a pending case, or if it is made by the Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office/Bureau/Unit for the purpose of fact-finding probe.

Provisions shall "apply to all SALN requests filed upon effectivity" of the memorandum, while all pending requests will be acted upon pursuant to it. Given this, longstanding requests of the media for Duterte's 2018 and 2019 SALNs, which have yet to be granted, will also be covered by the new rules.

The 2019 SALN of 24 senators were released by the Senate on Thursday. Hours later, three opposition lawmakers from the House of Representatives voluntarily publicized their own net worth.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which recently published all presidential SALNs starting from Corazon Aquino to Duterte's 2017 statement, said the documents show he "is breaking a long tradition of presidents making their annual wealth disclosures public year after year, often even without a formal request from the press or the public to do so."