Posted in: Press Releases- Mar 17, 2014 No Comments

DOF lauds court action, a landmark victory in President’s customs reform program

The Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the anti-corruption arm of the Department of Finance (DOF), scored a major victory in its anti-corruption drive after a Metropolitan Trial Court Judge found a Customs Examiner guilty of perjury and sentenced her to a prison term, the jail term a first for the courts since DOF-RIPS was formed ten years ago.
In her 18-page Decision, Judge Amalia S. Gumapos-Ricablanca of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila Branch 15 found Ana Marie Concepcion Maglasang, a Customs examiner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) assigned at the South Harbor, Port of Manila, guilty of 5 counts of perjury and sentenced her to a prison term of 4 months and 1 day as minimum to 1 year and 1 day as maximum for each count. Maglasang was also found guilty of violating Section 7 of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and sentenced to pay a fine of P5,000.00 for the 5 counts charged.
Undersecretary Carlo Carag, head of the DOF Revenue Operations and Legal Affairs Group, lauds the prison sentence rendered by Judge Gumapos-Riblanca, “This is a landmark victory in the President’s customs reform program and anti-corruption agenda. At last, our efforts are gaining headway.”
In finding her guilty, the court said that the complainant DOF-RIPS proved beyond reasonable doubt that Maglasang failed to submit a true and detailed sworn statement of her assets, liabilities and net worth by not reporting the various houses and lots and vehicles discovered to be registered under her name. By not filing all her assets in her sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for the years 1999-2003, Maglasang committed perjury.
The case stemmed from a letter complaint RIPS received in 2004 against Maglasang and her sister, Matilda C. Millare, a former Chief Customs Operations Officer of the BOC. An exhaustive investigation and lifestyle check was conducted by RIPS which led to the discovery of expensive SUV vehicles like Ford Expedition, Pajeros, and houses located in expensive subdivisions like Valle Verde and Royale Tagaytay Estates owned and registered separately under the names of the sisters some which were not disclosed in their SALNs.
In 2005, DOF-RIPS filed two separate complaints against the sisters and in 2006, the Office of the Ombudsman, found sisters Maglasang and Millare guilty of Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct and dismissed them from the service.

Carag: Even if you resign or retire, we will run after you
In finding Maglasang administratively guilty despite her resignation during the pendency of the case, the Ombudsman said that, “The resignation of respondent Maglasang from her employment with the Bureau of Customs is of no moment. Resignation should neither be used as an escape nor an easy way out to evade administrative liability or administrative sanction. Though, the sanction of dismissal from the service may no longer be imposed in view of her resignation, still it will serve the purpose of barring her from re-entry in the government service”.
The jail term issued by the court is the first since the creation of RIPS ten years ago. In all previous cases, trial courts dismissed the perjury charges on the ground of good faith.
“This court decision will send a strong message to the staff of the department and our attached agencies that even if you resign or retire, we will run after you,” the Finance Undersecretary said.
Thus, the Ombudsman imposed the penalty of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and her perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.

DOF scales up anti-corruption team, expedites evidence gathering with partner agencies
Over the past months, the President has made drastic reforms in the Bureau of Customs, an attached agency of the DOF, to improve its collection and to stop smuggling and corruption. To support the President’s Customs Reform Agenda, the DOF scaled up its anti-corruption team by hiring former prosecutors with extensive investigative and prosecutorial experiences to strengthen the case build up capacity of RIPS and ensure the successful resolutions of its cases.
The DOF has also tapped the assistance of other agencies such as the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Land Registration Authority (LRA), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create green lanes that would give priority to DOF-RIPS requests for information and documents, in order to expedite the investigation and resolution of its cases.
“The unrelenting support of the heads of these agencies has worked wonders in our fight against corruption,” Undersecretary Carag said.
The DOF calls on young lawyers and accountants who want to be a part of the government’s quest for good governance to apply and join RIPS in running after corrupt officials. The DOF encourages the public to help DOF in its campaign by reporting corrupt practices and extravagant lifestyles of BOC, BIR, Treasurers and DOF employees and officials


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