THE National Privacy Commission “schooled” a defiant Malacañang on Tuesday, saying acquisition costs should not be redacted”•revised or edited—from the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of government officials.
Privacy Deputy Commissioner Ivy Patdu told reporters that the Data Privacy Act, which the Palace had invoked to justify the massive redactions in the SALNs of Cabinet officials, “does not shield government officials from legitimate inquiries into matters of public concern.”
“If it’s a question of assets, liabilities and net worth, then of course that should not be redacted,” Patdu said.
“That is part of what is mandated to be included in any disclosure of the SALN form.”
Patdu insisted that the details removed from the SALN of Cabinet secretaries, such as the acquisition costs of personal and real properties, should have been made available to the public.
“They should not be redacted… They should be open to the public and they should be included in the SALN,” Patdu said.
In a recent report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a total of 167 redacted details were blackened out in 29 SALNs of the members of the Cabinet.
Twenty-eight of the SALNs had the acquisition costs or amounts of personal properties blacked out while in 24 of them the exact locations of real properties were redacted. And 23 SALNs had blacked-out acquisition costs of real properties as well.
Malacañang had earlier invoked the Data Privacy Act for the redaction on some information on the SALNs of some Cabinet officials.
Asked if the Palace would not redact information on the acquisition costs and data pertaining to the assets and net worth of government officials, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said none of those would happen in future requests.
Communications Assistant Secretary Michael Kristian Ablan likewise stressed that they would disclose information that were blackened out.
“Yes, that will be disclosed,” Ablan said.
“The acquisition costs, the total assets, the total net worth, the total liabilities will be disclosed.”
The SALNs of government officials are being kept in six repository agencies: the Civil Service Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the President, the Senate Secretary, the House of Representatives Secretary, and the Supreme Court Clerk of Court.
The Civil Service Commission will soon convene a Technical Working Group by October “to conduct a review of the SALN guidelines and SALN form, which will address our concerns on redactions,” Ablan said.