By Junex Doronio
SAYING THAT LUXURIOUS LIFESTYLE does not necessarily mean a public offcial is engaged in corruption, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the Ombudsman should have cited specific information that compelled him to stop lifestyle checks and limiting access to Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth.
The senator, who has been perceived as incorruptible, said only by giving out specific informations on extortion of public officials that the public will be able to comprehend the correctness of the Ombudsman in curtailing the right to get SALNs.
“How I wish in-expound niya pa kung saan siya nanggagaling. Kasi pwede lang natin speculate o isipin meron siyang information na natanggap na nangyari talaga yan kaya siya nag-decide ng ganyan. Sana nag-cite siya ng mga specific information o kaya mga incident na talagang nangyari yan para mas maunawaan ng tao kung ano pinanggagalingan niya,” Lacson said.
The senator added that he would like to believe that some people may have reported to Ombudsman Samuel Martires not just one or two but a few cases of extortion that may have led him to limit access to SALNs.
Lacson, however, admitted that the SALNs can help in the investigation of corrupt practices of government officials.
“Tulong yan pagdagdag para sa information na pwede makalap. Kung matatandaan mo, I hate to mention this kasi tapos na at namatay na ang tao, ito rin ang natalakay sa impeachment trial ni dating CJ Corona,” Lacson said.
Still the senator echoed Martires’ stance.
“Although hindi rin conclusive yan (lifestyle checks). Kung lifestyle ang titingnan, dapat laliman pa rin ang investigation. Siyempre kanya-kanya namang hilig ang tao, at kung halimbawa walang prohibition ang tao sa gobyerno mag-engage in legitimate business, basta walang conflict of interest sa kanyang pinaglilingkuran sa gobyerno,” Lacson said.
He castigated the perception of having a lavish lifestyle to being corrupt.
“Minsan yan ganoon din kamalian natin, parang ine-equate natin ang honesty sa poverty, at ang pagiging corrupt sa pag nakakariwasa. Para sa akin, medyo parochial ang ganoong kaisipan. Dapat kung iimbestigahan mo ang isang tao, dapat tingnan mo ang ginagawa niya, ano ang mga kamalian niya, kung may ginawa siyang masama na ginamit ang kanyang katungkulan sa pamahalaan,” Lacson stressed.
But on Sunday, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chair Dante Jimenez said that Martires’ move to stop the conduct of lifestyle checks on public officials and restricting public access to their SALNs defeats the purpose of transparency in government.