Morales contradicts successor, says Ombudsman can release President, VP's SALN

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2019 12:52 PM

MANILA — A sitting Ombudsman has the authority to release Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of public officials, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Wednesday, contrary to the remark of her successor. 

As Ombudsman, Morales regularly released copies of the SALNs of the President and the Vice President as well as heads of constitutional commissions upon request from the media. 

But in an apparent shift in policy, her successor Ombudsman Samuel Martires said recently that the request for SALNs of officials should be addressed to their specific offices, Malacañang for President Duterte and the Office of the Vice President for Vice President Leni Robredo. 

“He as the Ombudsman has the authority to release,” said Morales, who is also a former Supreme Court Associate Justice. 

Morales, who gave the Jaime Ongpin Annual Memorial Lecture at the Ateneo De Manila University on corruption this year, initially did not want to respond to the issue on the release of SALN’s.

“You want me to catch the ire of the present Ombudsman? Comparisons are odious, that is his policy whether correct or not I will keep it to myself,” Morales said.

She also emphasized the necessity of releasing SALNs of public officials to avoid corruption in government.

“The SALN is a good indicator whether or not public officials or employees might likely have enriched himself while in government,” Morales said.