BOC official charged for ill-gotten wealth

March 18, 2010 10:14 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANILA, March 18 – An official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) was charged on Thursday before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly having a lavish lifestyle and questionable properties not proportionate to his salary.

In a five-page complaint filed before the Ombudsman, criminal and administrative charges were filed against Atty. Rico Rey Francis Holganza, Chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and also a former Cebu City councilor.

Businessman Hans Ernest Tan Aparice III filed the complaint after he found that Holganza amassed a sizeable fortune despite having a monthly salary of P14,000 and an annual salary of P168,000 as a Legal Officer II in the BOC.

"In seven years as CIIS Cebu Chief, Holganza has been able to amass a sizeable fortune, displaying lavish lifestyle disproportionate to his monthly take home salary of P14,000 (Annual Salary of P168,000 ) as Legal Officer II with Salary Grade 17," the document said.

It was alleged in the complaint that Holganza has several properties not proportionate to his income, including an 800-square meter Mansion located in No. 6 Sparrow St., Santo Nino Village, Barangay Banilad, Cebu City; a three-storey building along Macopa St., Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City, right beside their ancestral house; A fully air-conditioned, glass-walling Cockpit in Bantayan Island and a vast agricultural land in Bantayan Island.

It was also stated that he has several personal properties "including cargo trucks, luxury vehicles such as Hyundai Starex van and Honda CRV, among others."

Photographs of some of the said properties were submitted to the Ombudsman for the Visayas Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol for reference in the conduct of its investigation.

The complainant alleged that he has personal knowledge that some of Holganza's properties were registered under the name of his siblings and relatives to avoid detection by the Ombudsman and other agencies of government who are in-charge of the investigation against corruption, accrual of ill-gotten wealth and laundering of illegally-acquired money.

The Ombudsman was asked to investigate the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Holganza through his Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) filed before the Ombudsman and conduct an ocular inspection as to the said mansion and other real properties.

"Look into the ill-gotten wealth of Atty. Holganza through his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth filed before this office to determine if he declared it, and determine whether they be acquirable by a Customs employee like him who only have P14,000 monthly salary," the complaint said.

The Ombudsman was also asked to investigate Holganza as to the alleged pseudo ephedrine smuggling on March 5, 2003 wherein former Cebu Vice Governor John Gregory Osmena was charged in court.

The said illegal activity involves a shipment of 60-drum-like cardboard bins containing 1,800 kilos of shabu ingredient pseudo ephedrine worth P3.6 billion which was discovered by the Customs Police Division and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the port of Cebu.

It was alleged in the complaint that the office of Holganza was "the starting point of the Import Entry and some other customs documents relative to the pseudo ephedrine shipment."

The respondent's stay in the BOC was also questioned such that he cannot be assigned to the CIIS for being a non-organic member of the CIIS.

It was stated that being a non-organic member of the CIIS, Holganza is considered as an "overstaying" chief of the CIIS Cebu.

Likewise, the Ombudsman was also asked to "file appropriate criminal and/or administrative charges against Atty. Holganza if evidence may warrant." (PNA)

RMA/PTR

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