The House of Representatives does not seem to be keen on publishing all congressmen‘s full statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
76 year old widower Speaker Sonny Belmonte even jokingly said he would rather show his girl friend first. “pakita ko muna sa girlfriend ko (joke yan) wala!
parang pari nako”
Belmonte quickly recovered from his joking tone and refused to elaborate on his lovelife.
turning serious, Belmonte explained that he is creating a group of congressmen from all the political parties in the chamber to achieve a consensus on the publication of the SALN’s. Belmonte explains that there are concerns it might be used to harass congressmen.
“here are 284, 285 and I’m trying to discuss with various members of the chamber. remember were all polticians here we have built in opponents in our districts, I wouldn’t like to commit 285 people just because I happen to be speaker.under the law its necessary to have a group who can study and make recommendations, “
Belmonte says that presently, congressmen are not prevented from releasing SALN’s on their own. “ our rule upto now anybody who wants to release can do so. for us to come to an agreement na tayong lahat will be bound, I actually am in the process of picking a group of people who belong to the parties to come up with consensus.”
with regards to signing a waiver over their bank deposits, Belmonte also showed coolness to the proposal. Belmonte stresses the Ombudsman can already look into public officials’ accounts. ”there’s nothing to prevent the ombudsman from scrutinizing anybody’s bank accounts that’s part of her power even on top of that we have , we signed a form which contains the waiver.”
Belmonte adds, “just because (former chief justice renato) corona waived it around that doesn’t make it the thing to do actually gambit lang naman niya yun”
Corona challenged his congressmen prosecutors to sign a waiver, just as he did during the impeachment trial.
meantime Belmonte did not concur with the suggestions of some sectors to go slow on the criminal prosecution of Corona. “I don’t think that’s a political decision, in so far as checking out the , that’s province of other branches of govt.”
Belmonte noted that former President Joseph Estrada was prosecuted after his own impeachment by the Ombudsman.” I remember the ombudsman made that decision and even in this case the ombudsman ought to do whatever she has to do .”
Corona was impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate for failure to disclose his SALN.