CUSTOMS COLLECTOR CAUGHT FOR NON-DISCLOSURE IN SALNs, OTHER RAPS

Posted in: Press Releases- Jun 24, 2012 No Comments

By reason of his undisclosed assets and business interest, as well as his fabricated and inconsistent declarations in his sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALNs), ENRICO T. TURINGAN, JR., a Customs Collector, will likely face preventive suspension for six (6) months without pay, pending preliminary investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman, based on its express powers under the Ombudsman Act of 1989 (R.A. 6770). 

On June 19, 2012, the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF) initiated its complaint against Collector Turingan Jr. for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended (R.A. 3019), Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713); Falsification of Official Documents and Perjury under the Revised Penal Code; and Serious Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct as penalized under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS). 

RIPS’ official investigation revealed that the District Collector, assigned at the Port of Aparri, failed to account for two (2) real properties in his SALNs, both of which are situated in Talisay, Batangas. The respective land titles secured from the Registry of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas confirmed that the subject properties are registered under the names of Collector Turingan and his wife, Susana Arellano. 

After a visual inspection of the same properties, it turned out that a concrete fence surrounded the same, which improvement was also not reported in Turingan Jr.’s SALNs nor declared for tax purposes. 

Collector Turingan Jr.’s SALNs filed for the years 2001 to 2010 indicated that while he consistently declared a parcel of land in Batangas allegedly purchased in 1992, the parcels of land in Talisay lots as well as the solid enclosure are conspicuously absent in his SALNs. 

          Aside from Turingan Jr.’s failure to report the above-itemized real assets in his SALNs, it likewise did not escape RIPS’ scrutiny that the former was amiss in not declaring his piggery and chicken-raising activities as his business interests. 

          In particular, upon a careful examination of his 2009 SALN, it appeared therefrom that these activities were reported as personal properties to the tune of forty thousand pesos (PhP 40,000.00) only.     

          Said RIPS in its complaint, “Upon inquiry, it was discovered that it is not simply a backyard chicken breeding but a business venture given the massive scope of its operation.  As it is, this makes his declaration as to his cock breeding in his personal assets undervalued as well.” 

As mandated by Section 8, Republic Act 6713 in relation to Section 7, Republic Act 3019, as amended, public officials and employees are obliged to disclose a true and detailed statement of their assets, liabilities, networth, business interests and financial connections.     

Also evident from his SALNs was Turingan Jr.’s deceitful scheme in declaring the values of his properties, which he pegged at their respective fair market values and not their acquisition costs as directed by pertinent laws. This machination was   easily perceptible from in his SALNs for the years 2003 to 2007, during which his networth swelled up as a result.

 Quoting in part a Supreme Court 2002 ruling in Republic v. Sandiganbayan and Bugarin, RIPS emphasized in its complaint that, “In ascertaining the value of respondent’s properties and shareholdings, it is not the fair market value, as claimed by the petitioner, that should be made as basis thereof.  Rather, as correctly held by the Sandiganbayan, it is the acquisition cost thereof, since it was the actual amount of money shelled out by respondent in acquiring them. It is the acquisition cost that must be charged against respondent’s lawful income and funds.”

           Conversely, the glaring disparities in the declared acquisition costs of the beleaguered Customs Collector’s Muntinlupa properties and student condo were equally supported by documentary evidence.

           In reference to his Muntinlupa properties, comprised of a house and lot, Collector Turingan Jr.’s SALNs for the years 2003 to 2007 showed that his house was worth two million one hundred thousand pesos (PhP 2,100,000.00), in sharp contrast to his subsequent admissions in his 2008 to 2010 SALNs that the very same residential building was only one million nine hundred thousand pesos (PhP 1,900,000.00).

           The 1994 urban lot, on the other hand, was valued at two hundred sixty thousand pesos (PhP 267,000.00) on the basis of his SALNs but its actual purchase price was only one hundred eighty thousand pesos (PhP 180,000.00) as proved by the Deed of Sale executed on December 11, 1997 between the Spouses Turingan and a certain Cielito S. De Mesa.

           Respecting his student condo in Manila, he stated in his 2007 SALN that the residential unit was worth one million seven hundred twenty thousand pesos (PhP 1,720,000.00), which declared acquisition cost veered away from his succeeding reported purchase cost of two million two hundred ninety four thousand eight hundred eighty four pesos (PhP 2,294,884.00) in the following years.

 As a consequence of Turingan Jr.’s misrepresentation of the true value of the condo, RIPS averred in its complaint that, “A P574,844.00 difference in value is not declared in 2007.”

 In addition, RIPS is also seeking Turingan Jr.’s administrative indictment for violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations under Executive Order No. 6, Civil Service’s RRACCS, and pertinent Department Orders for his failure to secure the necessary travel authority for his four (4) foreign trips made from 1994 to 1997 per Certification dated April 13, 2012 from the Bureau of Immigration.

           Such non-compliance was bolstered by the May 23, 2012 DOF Memorandum which confirmed that his personal trip to Hong Kong from April 28 to May 2, 2012 was the only authorized foreign travel by the Department.

           The Finance Department’s anti-graft arm asserted in its sworn statement that, “Indeed, respondent’s contradicting declarations in his SALNs is a blatant attempt to circumvent the law.  It is also a gross violation of his legal obligation to declare a true and detailed statement of his assets and liabilities under Section 7 of R.A. 3019 and Section 8 of R.A. 6713.”

 To date, RIPS has filed one hundred twelve (112) graft and lifestyle cases against one hundred fifty-three (153) personalities and successfully secured sixty-one (61) suspensions from office and twenty-one (21) dismissals from service of errant officials and employees under the Department’s jurisdiction.□□□□□

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