Customs official sued

Posted in: Press Releases- Aug 19, 2011 Comments Off on Customs official sued

THE FINANCE department has sued a Customs official for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to her income and for failing to declare numerous acquisitions in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

In a 17-page complaint filed last Tuesday before the Ombudsman, the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the department’s anti-corruption unit, charged Edita C. Yambao, Customs operations officer III, with violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA No. 6713 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Revised Penal Code.

RIPS is also asking the Ombudsman to issue a forfeiture order against Yambao’s “unlawfully accumulated” wealth and suspend her while the case is still pending.

“As per investigation conducted by RIPS, compelling evidence on record shows that during her tenure with Customs, respondent’s net worth grew at a rapid and astronomical rate… which far outpaced her legitimate earnings and disposable income,” the complaint read.

Among others, RIPS cited three land properties and an apartment with a combined amount of around P3 million, acquired in 2004 and 2008. It also listed pieces of jewelry amounting to P210,000; a vehicle worth P950,000; appliances worth P120,000; and cash of P480,000, all acquired from 2004 to 2009.

“Evidently, her (Yambao) net worth increased tremendously in 2007 to 2009 by P2.760 million” despite having a “modest” annual income of P276,876.00, the complaint said.

 On top of that, RIPS also noted that Yambao failed to file her SALN from year 2000 to 2003 in violation of Section 8 of RA 6713 and Section 7 of RA 3019, stating the “obligation” of public officials and employees to submit their SALN yearly.

“Respondent’s omission clearly demonstrates her utter disregard to comply with her basic, paramount and legal obligation to submit true and complete declaration and disclosure of her assets,” the complaint said.

RIPS was established in 2003 via Executive Order No. 259 “to investigate… allegations of corrupt practices of officials and employees of the [Finance department]… and all other agencies under [its] jurisdiction… and file appropriate cases, [if necessary].”

As of July, RIPS has already filed a total of 86 cases against 126 public officials, 51 of whom were suspended while 19 were already dismissed from service.

 

Orders implemented

The Finance department also implemented several orders from the Ombudsman suspending and dismissing its officials by virtue of the cases filed against them.

Finance Undersecretary Carlo A. Carag of the Revenue Operations and Legal Affairs Group ordered the Bureaus of Customs to implement the suspension order against Customs personnel named Edward O. Baltazar, Jose O. Guillermo and Reynaldo M. Ting. Likewise, it also directed to dismiss Alfonso C. Abbariao, Benjamin S. Capacite, Marcelo O. Gaviola, Luis E. Patriana, Jessica L. Delagado, Vanessa M. de Madrazo and Ismael A. Abdulcadir.

Carag has supervision over the Bureaus of Customs, Internal Revenue, Local Government Finance (BLGF) and RIPS.

 In a separate endorsement, 13 treasurers under the supervision of the BLGF were also ordered suspended or dismissed.

 They are municipal treasurers Arsenio R. Perin of Torrijos, Marinduque; Lualhati F. Narciso (Guiguinto, Bulacan); Fred B. de Leon (Lobo, Batangas); Adoracion T. Caparros (Guinyangan, Quezon); Josefina C. Mendiola (Quezon, Quezon); Soledad B. Biscocho (Laurel, Batangas); Efren C. Guiyab (Sto. Tomas, Isabela); Susan Ladlad (Gumaca, Quezon); Nemencia S.P. Sta. Maria (Rodriguez, Rizal); Emilia M. Belarmino (Tinambac, Camarines Sur); and Josefina S. Salvador (San Mateo, Rizal) and provincial treasurers Manuel E. Leycano, Jr. (Sta. Cruz, Laguna) and Norberto M. Canillo (Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro).

 “Let it be known further that refusal or failure of any officer without just cause to comply with an order of the Office of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend, demote, fine or censure shall be ground for disciplinary action against said officer,” Carag said in his endorsement to Customs Commissioner Angelito A. Alvarez and BLGF Executive Director Presentacion R. Montesa.

 Carag encouraged the public to help in the run against corrupt government officials through the Pera ng Bayan Web site (www.perangbayan.com), assuring them of swift action from the department.

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