Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Patricia Denise M. Chiu @PDMCHIUINQ

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Wednesday said that a sitting Ombudsman has the authority to release the statement of assets, liabilitie­s and net worth (SALN) of high ranking officials in government, including the President and Vice President, contrary to sitting Ombudsman Samuel Martires’ current policy to withhold such documents.

The President and Vice President, as well as heads of constituti­onal commission­s, submit their SALNS to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Morales who, like Martires was also a former associate justice of the Supreme Court, delivered the 18th Jaime V. Ongpin lecture on Wednesday. She said she had made it her practice to always release the SALNS of the President and Vice President during her term.

But Martires earlier this year refused the Inquirer’s request for copies of President Duterte’s and Vice President Leni Robredo’s SALN, saying his office had decided not to release the documents “pending the review and revision of the policies and rules of the Office of the Ombudsman [on the matter].”

Morales, however, insisted that Martires has the authority to make the documents public.

“He as the Ombudsman has the authority to release the SALN. [But] that’s his policy. Whether it’s correct or not, I keep it to myself,” Morales said, adding however that “comparison­s are odious.”

“Do you want me to catch the ire of the present Ombudsman?” she asked.

Morales went on to say that SALN is “a good indicator” of whether or not public officials or employees might likely have enriched themselves in office.

The former Ombudsman also touched on the graft and plunder charges filed against former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

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