Sa usapin ng transparency at accountability ng mga pampublikong opisyal at kawani, maliit na bagay ang mga simpleng waiver kumpara sa tamang paglagay ng ari-arian sa SALN (kung saan may waiver na rin mismo) at sa pagpapasa ng Freedom of Information Bill.
Sabi nga sa bandang dulo ng SALN: “I hereby authorize the Ombudsman or his authorized representatives to obtain and secure from all appropriate government agencies, including the Bureau of Internal Revenue, such documents that may show my assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections, to include those of my spouse and unmarried children below 18 years of age living with me in my household covering previous years to include the year I first assumed office in the government.”
Kapag may FOI pa tayo, mas madali ring makakuha ng mga kopya ng SALN ng mga nasa gobyerno upang makilatis ang mga ito.
Ayon kay Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, “Yes, the impeachment is very important when it comes to exacting accountability from the impeached Chief Justice, but we really have to realize that if we passed the FOI long before, we wouldn’t have this issue to begin with… Altogether, our fight in the Senate impeachment court and our fight for the passage of the FOI give a clear signal that the people are clamoring for truth and integrity in the public officials who serve them.”
Corona’s waiver is not the be all and end all of our struggle for government transparency and accountability. If we focus our energy on the passage of the FOI Bill, magkakaroon tayo ng mas pangmatagalan at mas matibay na tugon sa ating layunin. Instead of pressuring all government officials in signing waivers, let’s pressure the House Committee on Public Information Chairperson, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, into making sure that the FOI Bill is brought to the plenary to be immediately passed by Congress.
Transparency and accountability in government does not end with Renato Corona’s removal as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We need to make sure that the Freedom of Information Bill is immediately signed into law!
Use the hashtag #FOInow and tweet our legislators to tell them that they need to pass the Freedom of Information Bill as soon as possible.
Click here for a list of Senators and Representatives of the 15th Congress on Twitter.