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CBCP urges more transparency from gov’t leaders

MANILA, May 30, 2012— The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has called on government leaders to be more transparent with their assets following the removal from office of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Acknowledging that the Aquino administration is trying to root out corruption in the government, Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, emphasized that good government starts with honesty and transparency.

The Cebu archbishop specifically pointed out that this should start from no less than the executive department to the branches of the government.

Asked whether public officials should take the challenge of Corona to waive their bank secrecy rights, he replied affirmatively.

“This call for transparency could also be taking the challenge of the chief justice when he offered a waiver allowing the opening all of his accounts,” said Palma.

“If they did this to one person, then it is also appropriate for the people who accused him to also apply this form of transparency,” he said.

Senators yesterday voted 20-3 to convict Corona for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. He was ousted primarily on findings that he concealed millions of pesos and dollars from his statement of assets and net worth.

For the CBCP head, the “call to renewal” is one of the positive effects of the 43 days of impeachment trial.

“It’s really time to tune-up the mistakes of the past,” Palma said.

The church official also claimed that there are concerns that cropped up during the entire impeachment proceedings that should be addressed.

“During the process many things were revealed. Some information were taken in different ways, some are even questionable and some are bordering on hearsay, which is unacceptable in just trying to prove a point. All of these have to be pointed out,” he said.

When asked for qualifications of who should be next chief justice, he said: “After the impeachment trial, we are saying that we raised the bar of the judiciary. I think we already know in our hearts what kind of person should be appointed.” [CBCPNews]