The Court of Appeals (CA) has been asked on Thursday (Nov. 5) to declare null and void for being unconstitutional the memorandum circular of Ombudsman Samuel Martires which restricts public access to the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of public officials.
“It is unequivocal that the public can access these SALNS subject to some conditions – such as reasonable hours, payment of cost of reproduction and certification, and availability,” read the petition for certiorari filed by the Katipunan Pamilya Pilipino which is represented by its secretary general Ricardo Fulgencio IV and lawyer Larry Gadon.
The group assailed in particular Memorandum Circular No. 1 (Series of 2020) which Martires issued.
The petitioner pointed out that “MC No. 1 imposed additional restrictions, which all went beyond the requirements of the law.”
“No less than the Constitution provides that a ‘public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth’ and such ‘declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law’,” read the petition.
The group also cited that Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees “likewise mandates that while ‘public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath’ the general ‘public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests’.”