Support bill on wealth check for gov’t men — solon

HOUSE Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate has called on the government to support the passage of a law that will look into local and foreign currency deposits of all elected and appointed officials and employees.

“Then and now, alleged undisclosed bank accounts of some officials and employees are issues that continue to hound all anti-corruption campaigns. The Bank Secrecy Law has in fact became an unwitting shield and refuge of corrupt officials and employees,” said Zarate.

During the House hybrid joint hearing on PhilHealth controversies, most of its officials who attended the probe acceded to waive the protection of the bank deposit secrecy law so that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) can look into their personal bank accounts.

“If the present Duterte administration war on corruption is not just about bluster, it should support the passage of House Bill (HB) No. 1589,” said Zarate.

HB 1589  filed by Bayan Muna party-list lawmakers states that aside from the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), government officials and employees are required to submit a written waiver for the Ombudsman to examine, inquire or look into all their bank deposits, as an additional exception to Republic Act (RA) No. 1405 or the Bank Secrecy Law, as amended,

Its primary purpose is to curb graft and corruption, especially in the higher echelons of government where it is rife and like what is happening in PhilHealth now, Zarate said.

Positions like Cabinet secretaries, senators, congressmen even up to the President are included in the scope of this bill.

“The Duterte administration is supposedly going after corrupt officials, then it should support this bill,” he said, citing that the requisite is now even required for applicants to the position of Supreme Court Chief Justice. “If justices are required to submit a waiver, there is no reason why cabinet secretaries and other officials and employees should not,” said Zarate