2 CUSTOMS OFFICIALS FACE ADMINISTRATIVE AND CRIMINAL CHARGES

Posted in: Press Releases- May 06, 2013 No Comments

The Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF) filed separate complaint affidavits to the Office of the Ombudsman against 2 customs officers on Thursday, May 2, 2013.

RECAFLOR EDWARD FUERTE DE LEON, a Customs Operations Officer V stationed at the Port Area of South Harbor, Manila, and ABEL BATINO BAYOT, a Customs Operations Officer III of the Cavite Export Zone, have been separately charged of declaring misleading information in their respective Statements of Assets and Liabilities (SALNs) over a span of several years. Likewise, the two have been indicted for failing to declare a number of their personal properties.  RIPS has also accused the officials of taking suspicious trips abroad.  

De Leon’s SALNs show that from 2003 to 2011, he had declared two farm lots in the province of Zambales which were allegedly purchased separately from 1986 to 1989. However, certification obtained by RIPS from the Office of the Provincial Assessor of Iba, Zambales shows that no property, whether land or improvements, are declared in the names of De Leon or his wife and child.

RIPS also accuses De Leon of failing to declare ownership of firearms, as Certification from the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows his ownership of several of them.

Lastly, the agency alleges that, in violation of Executive Order (EO) 6, series of 1986, De Leon left the country on two separate occasions without the requisite travel authority.  A Certification from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) states that De Leon left the country for Bangkok in 2001 and for Hong Kong in 2009. EO 6 (s. 1986) requires all government employees to secure travel authority from the government before leaving the country. De Leon has worked for the government since 1981.

In Bayot’s case, the official is accused of declaring two ghost properties in his SALNs. Bayot listed ownership of a coffee farm in Amadeo, Cavite and a residential lot in Bacoor, Cavite in his SALNs from 2004 to 2011. However, certifications obtained by RIPS from the respective offices of the assessors of Amadeo and Bacoor show that no such properties are registered under his name or those of his wife or child. Likewise, Bayot had also declared ownership of a house and lot in Amadeo. However, the same certification from the Municipal Assessor of Amadeo shows that though Bayot is the owner of a residential building in the said municipality, the land on which it is erected is registered under the name of a certain Carmen Batino, married to Dominador Bayot.

RIPS also charges Bayot of declaring misleading information and failing to declare several personal properties in his SALNs. The affidavit against Bayot states that in his SALNs from 2004 to 2010, he declared ownership of a Honda car and a Mitsubishi Pajero. However, while the vehicles did not appear anymore in his 2011 SALN, Bayot apparently reported a Mitsubishi Montero in lieu of the other two vehicles.  Incidentally, the LTO certifications, respectively dated September 10, 2012 and October 19, 2012, show only Bayot’s ownership of the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Honda Civic, but not the Mitsubishi Montero. The agency argues that these vehicles should have been continuously reflected in Bayot’s SALN for 2011 per LTO certifications. Alternatively, since no LTO records support Bayot’s ownership of the Mitsubishi Montero, the same should not have been reflected in his 2011 SALN, as alleged by RIPS in its complaint.

On the other hand, a certification from the PNP shows that Bayot owns several firearms. However, the affidavit states that such were not declared by him.

Bayot is also accused of suspiciously travelling to Hong Kong from June 3 to 6, 1995. RIPS obtained certification from the BI shows that Bayot left for Hong Kong on the said date. However, another certification from the Central Records Management Division of the DOF shows that no travel authority was issued to Bayot for the said time.

De Leon and Bayot are answerable for administrative and criminal penalties should the Office of the Ombudsman find substantial evidence of the charges against them by virtue of its express powers under “The Ombudsman Act of 1989.”

Recently, RIPS pressed similar charges against Romalino G. Valdez and Jose C. Tabanda, both from BOC last April 25, 2013. □□□□□

 

RIPS is the anti-graft arm of the Department of Finance, created pursuant to Executive Order No. 259, s. 2003, to detect, investigate, and prevent corrupt practices committed by erring revenue officials and employees under the DOF’s jurisdiction, including the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

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