By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) started investigating a total of 104 cases against suspected erring officials and employees under its jurisdiction last year, with several of them either dismissed or suspended, while others are now undergoing lifestyle checks.
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said they have also started exploring the possibility of filing tax evasion cases against those suspected of amassing unexplained wealth on top of taking them to court forfeiture proceedings.
“We are coordinating with the BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] because we need the income tax returns of these personnel. There are some privacy issues with respect to that so we have to be very careful,” said Agabin, head of the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS).
“But I think we can gather enough evidence to make a case for tax evasion, especially if their tax returns will not show that they declared certain income but they were able to acquire properties beyond what they declared as income,” he added.
According to RIPS Executive Director Gilberto Espinosa, the DOF is now eyeing the filing in early this year an initial two tax evasion cases against employees suspected of amassing unexplained assets.
In the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), executive director Niño Alvina also initiated the probe of suspected erring municipal and city treasurers, in step with the directive of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to swiftly take punitive action against local officers.
From January to September 2017, 20 decisions were promulgated by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission finding several employees and officials of the Bureaus of Customs and of BIR.
These Customs and BIR officials were found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty and finding anomalies regarding the accomplishment and filing of their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) reports, Espinosa said.
These involved separate orders of the Ombudsman dismissing five government employees — two from the BIR and three from the Customs.
The Ombudsman also issued directives suspending for periods ranging from one month to one year, nine Customs employees, two BIR employees, one City Treasurer; and one Supervising Tax Specialist.
One Chief Revenue Officer of the BIR was also meted the penalty of Reprimand.
Finally an Administrative Aide of the Customs was sternly warned that a subsequent failure to declare material facts in the PDS shall be dealt with more severely.