The Department of Finance (DOF) sustained its anti-graft campaign this year with the successful prosecution of cases against personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the other DOF-attached agencies before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), in support of President Duterte’s goal of stamping out corruption in the government.
In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) said that from January to August 2018, at least five employees of the BOC were dismissed from the service and indicted for false declaration in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), while others were slapped with suspension orders.
These BOC personnel were found to have owned properties that they did not report in their respective SALNs.
SALNs are a mandatory declaration by government officials of all their properties and liabilities in a given year. All government officials are required to file SALNs upon their assumption to office and every year thereafter.
The DOF-RIPS conducts lifestyle checks on DOF officials, including those in attached agencies like BOC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), by investigating the properties that they have either declared, not declared or misdeclared in their respective SALNs.
Implementing orders from the Office of the Ombudsman, the DOF dismissed from the service BOC employees Uthman Mamadra and Rosalinda Mamadra, Delia Morala, Orlando Sangid, and Guillermo Roxas.
The spouses Mamadra, both with the BOC rank of Customs Operations Officer V, were found guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for their failure to declare a complete, true and detailed inventory of their real properties located in Paranaque City, Cavite and Mindoro Occidental; 12 pieces of firearms, and several motor vehicles, in their SALN for the years 2003 to 2012, according to RIPS, which is under the supervision of Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin.
These BOC officials were ordered dismissed from the service by the Civil Service Commission, and also slapped with accessory penalties of cancellation of their eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits and were barred from taking any Civil Service eligibility examination.
Another Customs Operations Officer V of the BOC, Delia Morala, was also dismissed from the service and meted with accessory penalties after being found guilty of serious dishonesty for filing an “untruthful” SALN, the RIPS said.
The Office of the Ombudsman found substantial evidence that Morala failed for several years to declare in her SALN real properties in Manila and Pangasinan along with her husband’s business interests in two (2) corporations.
Aside from administrative liabilities, Morala is also facing criminal indictments for Violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), and Violation of Article 171 (4) of the Revised Penal Code before the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
BOC employee Orlando Sangid, with the rank of Special Agent I, was dismissed from the service and meted with accessory penalties on orders of the Office of the Ombudsman for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct, for failing to submit his SALN for the years 2000 to 2003, 2005 to 2006, and 2008 to 2009.
According to RIPS, Sangid also omitted from, and misdeclared, several real properties, motor vehicles and business interests in his SALN for the years 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The Office of the Ombudsman also found probable cause against Sangid for seven counts of violation of Section 8 in relation to Section 11 of RA 6713 and six counts of perjury. The Ombudsman ordered the filing of the corresponding information on these charges in the appropriate courts.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman found substantial evidence against Guillermo Roxas, a Security Guard II of the BOC, to hold him liable for grave misconduct with four aggravating circumstances of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules Regulations, Violation of Section 8. of R.A. No. 6713, Violation of Section 46D(8) of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in Civil Service and Less Serious Dishonesty. This was because of his failure to secure the necessary Travel Authority for his trips abroad and failure to declare certain assets and business interests in his SALN for the years 2003 to 2014.
He was also penalized for failing to submit his SALN for 2011, willfully disregarding established rules, and falsifying his daily time record for September 2014.
With these violations of the law, Roxas was ordered dismissed from the service with the accessory penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Roxas was also charged with eight counts of violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6713 and violation of Article 171 (4) of the Revised Penal Code, for these same unlawful acts and omissions.
Meanwhile, Loida Cancino, a municipal treasurer in Pangasinan, and her husband Norberto Cancino, a municipal engineer also from that province, were found administratively liable for less serious dishonesty, and were suspended from office for six months and one day in 2016.
They both pleaded guilty to criminal charges filed against them for three counts of Violation of Section 8 of RA 6713.
The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), which supervises over local government treasurers, imposed the suspension and the penalty of fine of P5,000 in the case of Cancino.
Zenia Astorga, former Revenue Officer III of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), who retired in 2007, was ordered by a Municipal Trial Court in Bacolod City to pay a P3,000 fine for violating the one-year prohibition on the practice of one`s profession as provided under Section 7 of RA No. 6713.
Four other employees from the BOC and two from the BIR were found administratively liable of the lesser offense of simple neglect of duty and meted the penalty of suspension from service for one to three months, aside from facing criminal indictments. Two (2) other employees from BOC and BIR were reprimanded.
Last year, the RIPS started investigating a total of 104 cases against suspected erring officials and employees under the DOF’s jurisdiction, with several of them either dismissed or suspended, while others are undergoing lifestyle checks.
To catch other corrupt government officials and employees of the DOF and its attached agencies [BIR, BOC, Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), Insurance Commission (IC), National Tax Research Center (NTRC), Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC), Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency (PEICA), Privatization and Management Office (PMO), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)], the RIPS is encouraging the public to immediately report any suspicious activities and transactions in the said offices through the website – www.rips.gov.ph.