Posted in: Press Releases- Sep 13, 2016 No Comments

Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to suspend without pay for six months a customs officer for failing to declare several properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for three consecutive years.

Jerry Gomez Ponce, who holds the position of Customs Operations Officer IV in the BOC, was ordered suspended for six months without pay by the Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman after being found liable for Simple Dishonesty and Simple Neglect of Duty.

Dominguez instructed Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to implement the order of the anti-graft agency and to submit a compliance report to him—with a copy furnished the Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman—within five days after receiving the DOF directive.

The DOF secretary issued his directive after the Ombudsman had denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Ponce questioning its decision that found him guilty of simple neglect of duty and simple dishonesty.

Docketed as OMB-C-A-13-0216, Ponce’s case was filed before the Ombudsman by the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS). The original complaint filed by RIPS against Ponce was for Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty.

Based on the Ombudsman’s findings, Ponce failed to declare four pieces of real property when he filed his SALN for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“Wherefore, respondent Jerry Gomez Ponce is found liable for Simple Dishonesty and Simple Neglect of Duty and is meted the penalty of six months suspension without pay,” the Ombudsman said in its order dated July 21, 2016.

“In the event that the penalty can no longer be enforced against respondent due to separation from the service, the penalty of fine equivalent to his latest salary for six months shall be imposed, payable to the Office of the Ombudsman, and may be deductible from respondent’s retirement benefits, accrued leave credits or any receivable from his office,” the order likewise stated.

Ponce’s case stemmed from his failure to declare real properties covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 197777 in his 2010 and 2012 SALNs; TCT Nos. 114317 and 114318 in his 2011 and 2012 SALNs; and TCT No. 135000 in his 2011 SALN.

In his motion for reconsideration, Ponce claimed that there was no substantial evidence to fault him for simple neglect of duty and simple dishonesty, and that his failure to disclose his properties in his SALN was merely “poor decision” on his part.

The titles of the properties were used as collateral for a loan obtained by Ponce.

But in an order signed by Rose Ventayen Vallejo, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II of the Ombudsman, the motion was denied as no newly discovered evidence was submitted by Ponce that would “materially affect” the Ombudsman’s original ruling issued last June 7, 2016 “nor were there errors of law or irregularities committed to merit a reconsideration” of the case.

Ventayen Vallejo’s order was approved by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang.

The suspension order is in line with the BOC’s aim to remove corruption and promote transparency in its offices.



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