Press Release
August 11, 2010


Sign a waiver on bank secrecy, work in the government. Otherwise, go to the private sector.

This is what Sen. Chiz Escudero proposed in Senate Bill No. 107 which was heard in a public hearing today. The bill would require those who are already in the government and those who are planning to enter government service to open their financial assets to government audit.

The senator said this proposal is due diligence on the government's part to ensure that the civil servant does not use his position to enrich himself.

"We want to put in place a mechanism that promotes openness and transparency in the public sector. The signing of waiver in favor of the government will allow the examination of the civil servant's bank accounts and investments in government bonds".

The bill proposes that all public officials and employees, except those who serve in honorary capacity, shall submit to the Office of the Ombudsman a written waiver.

Any public official or employee who fails or refuse to submit such shall not be allowed to enter upon, or continue exercising the functions of her office.

"Those who refuse to sign are free to go to the private sector because working in the government is a privilege and not a right".

However, for the protection of the civil servant, the bill stipulates that only the Office of the Ombudsman may obtain or use the written permission or any other information obtained from it.

"This waiver and any information obtained from it shall be used exclusively only for investigating a duly signed and verified complaint before the Sandiganbayan. We don't want any witch-hunting using this".

Any person found violating the provisions shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of one (1) year salary or suspension not exceeding one year, or removal from office or disqualification to hold public office.

"This should be put in place to expose erring and corrupt officials. Most of the times, bank secrecy poses a big hindrance in the pursuit of an anti-graft case".

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