RIPS scores three victories against BIR, Customs execs

February 15, 2012 11:12 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 15 — The fate of a number of revenue officials were sealed when the Office of the Ombudsman handed down preventive suspensions, criminal indictments, and a lone dismissal from the service against them.

Marlon Pascual and Emma Pascual, Revenue Officers I and II, respectively, of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), are now officially placed under preventive suspension for six months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman as a result of administrative charges filed against them for Grave Misconduct, Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer, and Abuse of Authority.

Per Order dated November 29, 2011, the Office of the Ombudsman denied respondents’ Motions for Reconsideration (To Set Aside Preventive Suspension), invoking its express power under Section 24, Republic Act 6770, commonly known as “The Ombudsman Act of 1989”, to suspend any government personnel during the preliminary investigation of any complaint against him.

In their motions, respondent cited procedural flaws in the issuance of the Preventive Suspension Order, having been issued 5 years after the filing of the complaint, as well as violation of their right to due process anent the finding of evidence of guilt against them, even before they could file their counter-affidavit.

However, the Finance Department’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), which indorsed the Preventive Suspension Order to the BIR for its immediate implementation, maintained that the same was issued within the parameters of the RA 6770.

Addressing the issue of lack of due process, the Ombudsman, quoting a 1998 Supreme Court ruling, entitled, “Castillo Co vs. Barbers”, stated in the assailed Order that, “a preventive suspension can be served on an official under investigation after charges are brought and even before charges are heard since the same is not in the nature of penalty but merely a preliminary step in an administrative investigation.”

Respondents were both assigned at the BIR Revenue Region No. 9 – San Pablo City, Laguna at the time the complaint was filed on May 23, 2006. At present, one of the respondents, Emma Pascual, is stationed at BIR Revenue Region No. 8 – Makati City.

On the other hand, Mitchell Verdeflor, BOC’s Intelligence Officer I, was found guilty of Dishonesty that led to his dismissal from the service by the Ombudsman after he failed to disclose a number of properties and his wife’s business interest in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), as mandated under Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.

Per its Decision dated February 28, 2011, the Ombudsman declared that Verdeflor “violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 6713 for failure to disclose the following: (i) the business of Maria Lani Verdeflor in his 2004 to 2007 SALNs; (ii) the two parcels of land located in Buayan, General Santos City in his 2002 to 2006 SALNs; (iii) commercial building in Atis St., Dadiangas West, General Santos City in his 2002 to 2007 SALNs; (iv) HPRifle, Caliber 5.56 Galil with S.N. 38100126 issued and approved on June 16, 2008; (v) Revolver, Caliber .357, Smith & Wesson with S.N. DAL8515 issued and approved on December 13, 2007; (vi) Pistol, Caliber .45, STI with S.N. SAS10740 issued and approved on December 3, 2007; (vii) MPistol, Caliber .9mm, M&C MP5 with S.N. T0624-07T00052 issued and approved on August 12, 2008; and (viii) HPRifle, Caliber 5.56, Tavor Mtar 21 with S.N. 38856508 issued and approved on March 11, 2009.”

Prior to the issuance of the above-mentioned Decision, the Ombudsman, in its Review-Resolution dated 04 November 2011, had resolved that Verdeflor be likewise charged with seven (7) counts of Perjury.

“The respondent made a willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood in his SALNs in as much he declared in his SALNs from 2001 to 2007 only certain properties, indicating that said properties are the only properties that he and his wife owned, when in truth and in fact, several other properties such as the two (2) residential lands in Buayan, General Santos City, commercial building in Atis St., Dadiangas West, General Santos City and the two (2) firearms are owned by the respondent and his wife,” the Review-Resolution reads.

Verdeflor’s dismissal from the service also includes all accessory penalties.

Finally, in its Consolidated Resolution dated September 26, 2011, the Ombudsman likewise found probable cause to indict Atty. Titus Sangil, Chief Customs Operations Officer at BOC – Manila International Container Port (MICP), for eleven (11) counts of violation of Section 8, RA 6713 before the regular court for non-declaration of the following assets and financial connections in his SALNs: (a) his wife’s business interests in MAGS Enterprises in his 1993, 1999 to 2004 SALNs, Filestation Computer Rentals in his 2001 to 2004 SALNs, Guiriba Corporation and other assorted ventures, such as the buy and sell of service/motor vehicles, investment lending, and brokering business transactions for commission in his 1993 to 2004 SALNs; (b) property located at No. 129 L. Nadurata St., Maypajo, Caloocan City in his 1993 to 2001 SALNs; (c) Isuzu Elf ref van with plate number RAD 319 in his 1993 to 2004 SALNs; and (d) Isuzu Elf alum van with plate number XKZ 298 registered under his wife’s name in his 2003 to 2004 SALNs.

RIPS, the investigating arm of the Department of Finance against corruption, filed the administrative and criminal cases against Verdeflor and Atty. Sangil on July 13, 2009 and March 23, 2007, respectively.

The Finance Department’s Assistant Secretary for Revenue Operations and Legal Affairs Group, Peter L. Calimag, per Indorsement dated 13 February 2012, caused the immediate implementation of the Ombudsman’s official pronouncements against the respondents.

RIPS conducts lifestyle and graft investigations and files the proper criminal and administrative actions against erring officials of the revenue-generating bureaus and agencies under the jurisdiction of the Department of Finance, as mandated by Executive Order 259, series of 2003. (PNA) DCT/JS/PR/utb


Comments are closed.