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MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said the chamber would not implement stricter rules on public access to the statements, assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) of its members.

Unlike the House of Representatives’ new SALN rules, Sotto said the Senate would maintain its current policy on the release of the document.

“The Senate has the same formula as the Supreme Court…The Supreme Court’s stand on it is the same as the Senate,” Sotto told reporters in an interview.

The House, in a plenary session on Wednesday night, approved Resolution 2467, which redacts or blackens several details in lawmakers’ SALNs “for security and privacy reasons.”

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the new House rule on SALN goes against the “spirit of transparency.”

“I think it has to be simple, the process needs to be clear and transparent. Yun naman yung principle nito eh (It’s the principle here),” Gatchalian said.

HR 2467 is premised on the following: 1) consistent with the right of the people to information of matters of public concerns, access to SALNs of House Members, officials and employees shall be afforded the citizens subject to the limitations and prohibitions of the Constitution, existing laws and jurisprudence; 2) the House has the inherent power to regulate access by the public to personal documents such as SALNs in order to avoid damage to or loss of the records and to prevent undue interference with the duties of the custodian; and 3) the House recognizes the circumstances, which the information in the SALNs of its Members may be used to render them and members of their family vulnerable to threats of life and security, influence the action of the House or its committees, and consequently, undermine the independence of the legislative branch. (PNA)

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