Marcos agrees with SALN limits, won’t release wealth report

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos does not plan to release his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) to the public if he is elected to the country’s top post.

The former senator on Monday said he believes government officials deserve a certain amount of protection, arguing the wealth report can be weaponized by political rivals. "Kung talagang may problema, may reklamo eh ipadaan natin sa authorities, sila ang magtingin. [If there really are problems, authorities should be the ones to scrutinize it.]," he said in an interview with selected media, including CNN Philippines. "Maybe if there's a case filed, perhaps that’s the time that it can be given but not to the public. Certainly to agents of the court or the court itself, whatever that court might be. That might be a workable solution."

He was responding to a question on whether he would make his SALN public should he win the presidential race.

He cited the case of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached due to discrepancies between his bank accounts and SALN.

“Lahat ng pulitiko may kalaban eh. Gagawan ng issue yan kahit walang issue. Prime example is Corona, walang issue gumawa sila tinanggal siya,” he added in his first meeting with journalists after skipping GMA News' presidential interviews.

[Translation: All politicians have enemies. They can make an issue even if there is none. The prime example is Corona, wherein they made an issue that left him impeached.]

The presidential bet changed his stance on the document's release after saying in an interview with One PH back in October 2021 that he was willing to publicize his SALN for the sake of transparency and accountability.

Marcos, the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos whose family is accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth, believes publicizing SALNs will only create unnecessary problems that will distract from a public official’s work.

RELATED: Robredo dares other presidentiables to bare SALNs

Instead of making the SALN public or available to the media, Marcos said the document can be examined, for example, by the Anti-Money Laundering Council if the official is facing a case or complaint.

“We have to be more protective. The SALN shows exactly what your economic activity has been all your life," the presidential aspirant added.

During the GMA News presidential interviews, Marcos' top opponents Leni Robredo, Ping Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, and Isko Moreno all said they were in favor of publicizing a public official's SALN.

​Ombudsman Samuel Martires, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte, earlier imposed restrictions on public access to government officials’ SALN, including that of the President’s.

The last time Duterte publicly released his SALN was in 2018. Journalists have been tossed back and forth between the Office of the President and the Office of the Ombudsman to request for a copy of Duterte's 2018, 2019, and 2020 SALN.

However, when Marcos was earlier asked the same question about SALN, he had a different answer.

In his interview with One News PH's "Sa Totoo Lang," he was asked if he will copy what Duterte is doing to gatekeep his SALN.

Marcos responded, "I am perfectly willing to show my SALN."

In DZRH's "Presidential Job Interview" on Tuesday, Marcos also said if he becomes president, he believes the Cabinet officials he will appoint should likewise show their SALNs.

"I can speak for myself, and of course, if I'm elected, then I can speak to those who I have brought into the government," he added.