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Being truthful

By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Being truthful means a strict adherence to a policy of honesty and openness. This is a quality that should be practiced by each and every one in everyday life and in any field of work.

Being truthful also means being trustworthy. Our words are just as important as our actions: They must be truthful.

People can be sensitive when trust is concerned. When the faith entrusted is broken, it may take years, decades or even a whole lifetime for confidence to return, if it still can be salvaged.

For this plain and simple reason, the fact that some of our government officials still seem impervious to the public’s sentiments when trust is concerned at this day and age when people are fighting for transparency never ceases to amaze me.

Redactions have been noted by media outfits on items declared by current and former Cabinet officials in their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) since December 2016 that were released by the Malacañang Records Office.

This simply cannot go unnoticed since the items redacted include some of the most crucial details why public officials are required by law to file their SALNs in the first place. These include information regarding their real and personal properties, business interests, asset values while liabilities are blacked out quite possibly with a marker.

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They discovered that there were 167 redacted details found among 29 reviewed SALNs blacked out by long and blotchy rectangles.

The amounts of personal properties on 28 of the SALNs were also found to have been blacked out while the exact locations of real properties in 24 were redacted.

More importantly, only the cities or provinces of the real properties and business interests of some Cabinet officials were left readable.

One official led the pack of Duterte’s Cabinet with 10 redactions to his SALN while some of his colleagues had five to nine redactions each.

A Cabinet secretary even used an outdated form in his June 30, 2016 and December 31, 2016 SALNs. He used a SALN form mandated by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and promulgated in 2011. However, the CSC promulgated in 2015 a revised SALN form to be used from then on.

Why do they keep the truth regarding their true worth secret from the public? Don’t tell me they are unaware of the changes to their SALN.

Bear in mind that a Cabinet official functions as an extension of the President. With a truly sensitive voting public always on the lookout, any form of insincerity on the part of these officials no matter how trivial will definitely reflect on the Chief Executive.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/

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