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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, February 16, 2012
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BIR execs suspended;
Customs officer sacked

MANILA – The fates 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, are now officially placed under preventive suspension for six months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman due to administrative charges filed against them for Grave Misconduct, Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer, and Abuse of Authority.

Based on an order dated November 29, 2011, the Office of the Ombudsman denied the respondents’ Motions for Reconsideration to set aside the suspensions.

The Ombudsman invoked 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/her.

In their motions, Marlon and Emma cited procedural flaws in the issuance of the Preventive Suspension Order, having been issued 5 years after the filing of the complaint.

They also alleged as violation of their right to due process the suspension even before they could file their counter-affidavit.

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

The Ombudsman also cited a 1998 Supreme Court ruling, entitled, “Castillo Co vs. Barbers”, said that, a preventive suspension can be served on an official under investigation after charges are filed and even before charges are heard since it is not in the nature of penalty but just a preliminary step in an administrative probe.

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.

This was after Verdeflor failed to disclose a number of properties and his wife’s business interest in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, as mandated under Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.

In a decision dated February 28, 2011, the Ombudsman said that Verdeflor “violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 6713 for failure to disclose the business of Maria Lani Verdeflor in his 2004 to 2007 SALNs.

Verdeflor also failed to disclose the two parcels of land and assorted firearms in his SALN’s.

In its Consolidated Resolution dated September 26, 2011, the Ombudsman also found probable cause to indict Titus Sangil, Chief Customs Operations Officer at BOC – Manila International Container Port, for 11 counts of violation of Section 8, RA 6713 before the regular court.

This is for non-declaration of the business interests in his wife’s name and various vehicles in his SALN’s.

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

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