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Ombudsman Samuel Martires has stopped lifestyle checks on government officials over supposed unclear provisions in Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Martires called lifestyle checks “illogical” during the Office of the Ombudsman’s budget briefing before the House appropriations committee Tuesday (September 22).

“Ngayong ako ay nag-assume bilang Ombudsman, ipinatigil ko muna ang lifestyle check dahil matagal na hong may kwestyon, may duda ako sa probisyon ng batas sa lifestyle check. That’s why, naabutan lang kami ng pandemic. I was about to ask Congress to amend Republic Act 6713 because there are really provisions there na Malabo, walang hulog sa logic,” he said.

Martires said the law’s definition on what constitutes living beyond one’s means is unclear. To explain his point, the Ombudsman cited an example of a government employee who earns P50,000 a month who lives in a small house. The government employee, however, was able to buy a BMW sedan because a car dealer offered an attractive payment scheme.

“Masasabi ba nating he’s living beyond his means? I don’t think so. He probably he has distorted values, distorted priorities pero ano hong pakialam natin? Sino tayo para husgahan ang taong ito na bumili ka ng BMW, bahay mo ang liit liit?” he said.

Martires said his office is not in a place to interfere regarding a government official’s lifestyle, unless he or she did something wrong.

“Anong pakialam natin sa uhay ng may buhay kung wala siyang inaagrabyado? This is something we have to redefine, that living beyond your means, that simple living. What is simple living? What is simple living to me may not be simple living to you, your Honors,” he said.

Martires said RA 6713 should be amended as its provisions are open to “misinterpretation.”

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