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What You Need To Know About the Assets Law?

by Rene Rocamora

April 2004

How I was able to obtain Fua's Assets & Liabilities?

Is your elected official in compliance with Republic Act 6713?

RA 6713 otherwise known as the Assets Law requires all government officials and employees to report every year their property, business interests, and relatives in government service. The deadline for filing the statements is every April 30. The rules and regulations drawn up by the Civil Service Commission for RA 6173 requires fairly detailed descriptions of the entries to the SALs. They must indicate the kind of land, location (including house number and street name), and the assessed and fair market values and acquisition costs of their real properties. They must identify the agencies to which they are indebted when they report their liabilities.

The Assets Law which has been designed after United States financial disclosure laws provides the basis for ordinary citizens to review the financial conditions of their elected officials.

The U.S.-based Center of Public Integrity, which has examined financial disclosure laws in America’s 50 states, points out that disclosure reports are often the public’s only source of information about their representatives’ sources of income. “For that reason, the reports are often a better indicator of motivation on the part of lawmakers than campaign contributions,” it says.

The Center says the idea behind requiring U.S. state legislators to file personal financial disclosure reports stems from the philosophy that public office is a public trust. “To maintain that trust, to safeguard the relationship between the elected and the electorate, lawmakers are expected to draw a line between their public actions and their private activities and interests,” it says.” If they fully disclose those activities and interests, others – their constituents, news organizations, and their peers in the legislature – are at least armed with the information they need to decide whether a particular lawmaker's actions have been influenced by factors other than the public good.”

The penalties for non-compliance are imprisonment of up to five years, P5,000 fine and disqualification from public office.

A provision in RA 6713 mandates full public disclosure of financial declarations made by public officials. Thus, the Statements of Assets and Liabilities, including whatever annexes they may contain, are public documents that can be accessed by anyone within reasonable working hours. Citizens can request for either ordinary photocopies or certified true copies of the statements, the cost of which they will shoulder.

The following offices are supposed to have copies of SALs.

The President, Vice President, and members of the Cabinet
The office of the President - 735-6053 / 735-6085
The office of the Vice President - 832-7571 / 832-7554
The office of the Executive Secretary - 736-1165 / 736-1012
The records office of the Malacañang Palace – 736-1064 -
The Office of the Ombudsman – 528-0659
Provincial governors, vice governors, mayors, vice mayors, other local officials
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon – 528-0647 / 528-1467
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas – (032) 253-8609 -
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman and Mindanao – (082) 221-3431
AFP personnel - Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the military – 734-5504
Representatives - Office of the Secretary General, House of Representatives – 931-5001
Senators - Office of the Senate Secretary – 552-6601 / 552-6854
Members of the Judiciary - Supreme Court - 523-0679 / 523-2113

What should public officials declare?

1. Real properties –land (residential, commercial, agricultural etc.), houses and buildings (apartments, townhouses) together with improvements

Improvements –valuable additions of betterment on real property which enhances its value -

Assessed value – the appraisal or assessment of real property made by the city, provincial or municipal assessor -

Current fair market value –actual value, that is, the fair value of the property as between one who wants to purchase and one who wants to sell it -

2. Personal properties – properties for personal use such as cash in banks, cash on hand, jewelry, appliances, furniture and fixtures, books, cars stocks, bonds and the like -

brief description of the property e.g. real property – farmland, residential house; personal property – car: 1978 model, Toyota -

Mode of acquisition – manner by which the property is acquired, e.g. inheritance, donation, purchase etc -

3. Creditor – person, group of persons or company to whom one is indebted or whom payment is due e.g. GSIS or loans, PhilAm for insurance, rent -

4. Nature of business interest – refers to business interest whether as proprietor, investor, owner, partner, shareholder, officer, managing director, executive, creditor, lawyer, legal consultant, or adviser, financial or business consultant, accountant, auditor and the like -

5. Relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity and affinity – spouse, children up to 18 years of age, parents, brothers and sisters and their spouses, nephews and nieces and their spouses, first cousins and their spouses, bilas, inso, balae, step parents, half brothers and half sisters and their spouses.

Source: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism