Monday, February 06, 2012

Betrayal Of Public Trust

"Public office is a public trust", this the reason why government employees whether appointed, or elected must ensure that they maintain their integrity and honesty. The Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) is a sworn document. It's not a simple list of things you own. Every entry is presumed to be accurate and true. A discrepancy of a few thousand can be deemed honest mistakes or even lapses of memory. Discrepancies of several millions and more than half a dozen properties cannot be considered honest mistakes. If one is so forgetful as to overlook these is not fit to be chief justice.

We are taught as kids to never lie. Honesty, as we are all told, is the best policy. Was Corona absent when his teachers taught this in school? Was he sleeping when his parents discussed honesty in their home? The SALN is to ensure that all government employees do not enrich themselves during their stint in office. Being honest is to me the most important virtue every government employee must possess (loyalty to an appointing power is not included). I remember my mother who even lists the number of blouses she owns in her SAL/N.

The office Corona sits in is one of the highest offices in the land. Anyone who occupies it should not only be honest but extremely honest. Anyone who is appointed there was put there because the public trusts him. If one cannot execute his SALN truthfully, it is tantamount to betrayal of public trust. The senate should not take this lightly. Lying may not be a high crime but is the beginning and the end of all crimes. The constitution may not have a very clear definition of "Betrayal of Public Trust", but even a 7-year old can tell you what honesty means.

So what do you think of my argument? Is it safe to say that undervaluing your net worth constitutes lying? As being members of the "public", we should not be confused by technicalities. There are no gray areas when it comes to honesty, integrity and credibility.


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