COURTS FIND BOC OFFICIALS GUILTY OF NON-DISCLOSURE IN SALNs

Posted in: Press Releases- Sep 30, 2013 No Comments

For failure to declare their real properties and business interest in their respective Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs), three (3) officials from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) were adjudged guilty of violating Section 8 of Republic Act 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”.

In a Decision promulgated on August 12, 2013, the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, Branch 3, held PIER ANGELI SENANGOTE SEALTIEL, Customs Operations Officer V, liable for ten (10) counts of violation of the said law, after it was clearly established that Sealtiel did not report her husband’s interests in two (2) adjacent lots and an apartment unit in Parañaque City in her SALNs for the years 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.

Records of the case revealed that an old land title over the disputed Parañaque properties was registered under the name of Sealtiel’s late father-in-law who died in 1983. However, it was only in 1994 that the properties were divided among her husband, Leonilo Rosal Sealtiel and his siblings by virtue of a deed of donation executed in their favor, as inscribed on the subsequent land title, where the Sealtiel brood was identified as co-owners thereof.

“To the mind of the Court, such issuance of transfer of certificates of title (TCTs) in the names of Leonilo Sealtiel and his siblings as registered co-owners, makes it incumbent upon accused Pier Angeli Senangote Sealtiel to disclose her husband’s interest over the subject properties beginning 1994, failing which, makes her liable for non-disclosure of her husband’s interest on the said properties in her SALNs for the years 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005,” the Decision reads.

According to Section 8 of R.A. 6713, “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.”

Sealtiel was slapped with a fine of Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) for each non-disclosure in SALNs, or a total of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00), including costs.

Meanwhile, Spouses TEOTIMO and VIVIAN SACLUTI, both appointed as Customs Operations Officer III, were found guilty of six (6) counts each of the same violation of law, for their failure to declare their business interest in “Bodgie Motor Works” in their joint SALNs filed from 2000 to 2005.

In a sixteen (16) – page Decision dated May 31, 2013, the MeTC of Manila, Branch 30 did not find merit in Mr. Sacluti’s testimony that he was unaware of the fact that the said business was registered in his name because he himself admitted that his older brother, Felix Sacluti would use his (Teotimo) name in setting up the said business. The Court likewise gave credence to his brother’s undisputed assertion that Teotimo infused the amount of Sixty Thousand Pesos (Php 60,000.00) to save the business from closing down, when Felix needed funds for his medical treatment.

“Be that as it may, a public official or employee must comply with what the SALN requires to be disclosed and absent any clear showing of mere oversight, inadvertence or the like will not exempt anyone from liability under the law,” the court a quo further stated.

Spouses Sacluti were fined Thirty Thousand Pesos (Php 30,000.00) each for their omission of “Bodgie Motor Works” as their business interest in their SALNs.

The criminal Informations filed against Sealtiel and Spouses Sacluti were offshoot from the complaints initiated by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the anti-corruption arm of the Department of Finance (DOF), on June 13, 2007 and February 13, 2007, respectively, before the Office of the Ombudsman.*****

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