Custom’s Officials’ Non-Disclosure in SALNs Results in Suspension, Court Raps

Posted in: Press Releases- Apr 16, 2012 No Comments

Two (2) Customs officials face repercussions in separate cases by reason of their failure to disclose their assets and business connections in their sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs), as mandated by Republic Act 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees”.

Batangas Port-based Customs Operations Officer FELIX A. EMBALSADO was found administratively liable for Less Serious Dishonesty for his non-declaration of certain real properties and private vehicles in his SALNs and correspondingly meted the penalty of Suspension from Office for a period of three (3) months without pay.

Meanwhile, Atty. TITUS A. SANGIL, Chief, Customs Operations Officer at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), is facing eleven (11) charges in court for violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6713, after failing to report his wife’s business interests and financial connections, two (2) vehicles, and an inherited property in Caloocan City.

The Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF) initiated the cases against Embalsado and Atty. Sangil on November 21, 2006 and March 23, 2007, respectively.

Per Ombudsman’s findings, Embalsado purchased from his mother, Leonides A. Embalsado, a lot covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-53783, which was splitted into three (3) parcels of land, now covered by TCT Nos. T-91599, T-91600, and T-91601, all situated in Tanauan City, Batangas. Moreover, evidence on record showed that there were two (2) residential buildings erected on the lots covered by the first two TCTs that remained unaccounted for in Embalsado’s SALNs.

In its Decision dated October 24, 2011, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon gave credence to RIPS’ averments in its complaint that there was failure on Embalsado’s part to observe full disclosure of his assets in his SALNs and pointed out in part that, “he failed to declare the fact that he subdivided his one lot into three (3) that resulted into three (3) individual TCTs. Nonetheless, he deliberately failed to disclose the existence of two houses erected on the smaller lots covered by TCT Nos. 91599 and 91600.”

With regard to his non-disclosure of his vehicles, Embalsado claimed in his Position Paper dated August 9, 2011 that the 1995 Mitsubishi Space Wagon was previously sold to an unidentified person while the ownership of the Toyota owner-type Jeep was already conveyed to his daughter, Fe Christine E. del Rosario, although her name was not yet reflected in the said vehicle’s registration papers, allegedly to “reflect less previous owners and command a better price when it is re-sold later on”. However, respondent’s argument did not yield the Ombudsman’s nod.     

Reasoning out further, the constitutional watchdog maintained that “his excuse of having sold the vehicles mentioned by the complainant as part of his assets was not supported by evidentiary evidence. The submitted Deeds of Sale of Motor Vehicle are unaccomplished with just the description of the vehicle and the name and signature of the vendor. This will not suffice as proof of his relinquishment of ownership of the motor vehicles mentioned by the complainant. This is especially true of the Toyota jeep owner-type with plate number DHY 275 and the 1995 Mitsubishi space wagon with plate number UCT 932. Thus, his failure to make a truthful declaration of his assets in his SALNs made him administratively liable for dishonesty.” 

On the other hand, in Atty. Sangil’s case, per Consolidated Resolution dated September 26, 2011, the Ombudsman resolved that while “it is true that the respondent declared in his 1994 to 1997 SALNs his wife’s business interest and financial connection with MAGS Enterprises, a venture which she started in 1992,” supporting evidence showed that “he failed to declare the same enterprise in his 1993 SALN as well as in his 1999 to 2004 SALNs,” taking into consideration his admission in his Counter-Affidavit that “the purchase of the Isuzu Fuego was bought through the earnings of his wife.” The Ombudsman added that, “Likewise, in her Affidavit executed on November 13, 2007, there was no mention that MAGS Enterprises is no longer operational.” The same conclusion was also reached in relation to his wife’s computer rental business, ‘Filestation’, established in 1999, which was not reported in his SALNs for the years 2001 to 2004. 

In the same Consolidated Resolution, the Ombudsman affirmed that Atty. Sangil did not indicate in his 1993 to 2004 SALNs that his wife has financial connections with Guiriba Corporation, having subscribed to five hundred (500) shares of capital stock with one hundred pesos (Php 100.00) as par value, or for the sum total of fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000.00), as gleaned from the entity’s articles of incorporation and by-laws.

Said the Ombudsman, “It must be emphasized that the non-declaration started from the time of inception of the corporation up to the alleged time that it has been delisted by the SEC for inactivity. Considering the period involved and the non-submission of documents or proof to validate his wife’s claim, good faith on the part of the respondent cannot be presumed. What can be deduced is the fact that from the very start, the respondent is aware that his wife is an incorporator of the Guiriba Corporation and that she received earnings from such venture, no matter how minimal.”

It did not also escape the Ombudsman’s scrutiny that “records would show that the respondent did not also declare in his 1993 to 2001 SALNs the property located in No. 129 L. Nadurata Street, Maypajo, Caloocan City. He also did not declare the Isuzu Elf alum van with Plate No. XKZ 298 registered under his wife’s name in his 2003 to 2004 SALNs.”

Another undeclared vehicle was an Isuzu Elf ref van with Plate No. RAD 319, which Atty. Sangil did not indicate in his 1993 to 2004 SALNs, “despite the fact that that it was only sold to a certain Lalaine Calma-Aurellado on September 27, 2006 for three hundred eighty thousand pesos (P380,000.00).”

Weighing up Atty. Sangil’s unlawful acts, the Ombudsman found probable cause for eleven (11) counts of Violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 and directed the filing of criminal Information before the regular court of law, for every year of failure to declare in his SALNs the aforestated undisclosed properties and his wife’s business interests and financial connections.

Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 partly provides that, “Public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age living in their households.”

RIPS, per its mandate under Executive Order No. 259, s. 2003 to detect, investigate, and prevent graft and corrupt practices among officials and employees of the revenue-generating agencies under its jurisdiction, has initiated a total of one hundred seven (107) cases against one hundred forty-eight (148) respondents, and secured sixty-one (61) suspensions from office and twenty-one (21) dismissals from service. □□□□□

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