Palace focused on typhoon rehab, not on Duterte’s SALN issue

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte checks the phone of one of the members of the cabinet during the 42nd Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on October 11, 2019. Malacañang Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte is currently focusing on the country’s typhoon recovery, so issues surrounding the disclosure of his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) would have to be set aside, Malacañang said Wednesday.

“All these we’ll have to set it aside right now because the task right now is to help the typhoon-ravaged areas recover,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview.

Roque said Duterte wants to make sure assistance is handed out to victims of the typhoon before resolving any other concern.

“The President is in Manila. He is focused on rehabilitation efforts. But right now, he wants to make sure that, number one, that the basic necessities be received by the victims of this typhoon and everything else are not considered as important as the rehabilitation effort right now,” he added.

The spokesman also gave his two-cent and believes there is no “conscious effort to conceal” President Rodrigo Duterte’s wealth. He invoked the recently published guidelines of the Office of the Ombudsman as well.

The Ombudsman has restricted public access to government officials’ Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

“I don’t think there is a conscious effort to conceal because he has complied with it. He is just respecting the recent guidelines issued by the Ombudsman because after all the Ombudsman is a constitutional body tasked with promoting accountability amongst public officers,” Roque said.

“So, all he’s saying is let’s respect the guidelines issued by the Ombudsman and comply with those guidelines.”