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Vice President Leni Robredo believes Ombudsman Samuel Martires is giving government officials a “license” to hide their wealth by stopping lifestyle checks and restricting public access to their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

Robredo on Sunday (September 27) said she was saddened by Martires’ recent decisions.

“Hindi ako makapaniwala na galing pa sa head ng opisina na dapat nag-iimbestiga. Parang binibigyan mo ng license iyong mga public officials na magtago ng kanilang mga yaman na hindi dapat kasi requirement iyon under the law and the Constitution,” she said on her radio show, “Biserbisyong Leni.”

Earlier this month, Martires issued a memorandum circular limiting public access to SALNs and imposing stringent requirements to obtain a copy of the document. In a hearing at the House of Representatives, the Ombudsman said SALNs have been “weaponized” by persons with an axe to grind against public officials.

Martires said he also stopped lifestyle checks since the law on government officials’ conduct is open to misinterpretation.

Robredo said stopping lifestyle checks on government officials sends the wrong signal to the public these could indicate a government official is living above his or her means.

“Ako dapat tinitingnan ito, kasi ito ang hindi siguro siya proof, pero siya ay red flag na ito ang further na iimbestigahin pa natin. Dahil iyong kaniyang yaman ay hindi commensurate sa kaniyang sweldo as a public official,” she said.

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