Former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod believes Ombudsman Samuel Martires should step down for “stupidity” and “cupidity”—or greed—in restricting public access to the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) of government officials.
In her September 26 column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monsod called Martires a “Duterte boy” who’s acting as a defender of politikos instead of being the “sumbungan ng bayan.”
“And then he complains that nobody wants to testify against the corrupt government officials. Is testimonial evidence the only way? Isn’t that what the SALNs are for, isn’t that what forensic accountants are for, isn’t that what anti-fraud audits are for? Documentary evidence,” she said.
“But then, if the Ombudsman habitually misreads, shouldn’t he give way to someone who can do a better job? Cupidity? Stupidity? The people deserve better,” Monsod added.
The economics professor at the University of the Philippines noted that Martires’ net worth grew by a P15.2 million in 2018, the year he was appointed Ombudsman.
Quoting a report from Rappler, she said the cause of the increase in Martires’ wealth could not be determined since he only released a summary of his SALN, not the full document.
“So, in all, a case could be made for cupidity on the part of the Ombudsman. But stupidity may have something to do with it, too,” Monsod said.
Under Republic Act 6713, Monsod said copies of government officials’ SALNs should be available to the public.
“That’s clear, isn’t it? SALNs should be readily accessible, and news and communications media are allowed to disseminate them to the general public. But Ombudsman Martires limits access only to representatives of the filer of the SALN or his representative, upon request of a lawful order of a court with regard to a pending case, or to the field and other offices of the Ombudsman conducting an investigation,” she said.