BIR assistant commissioner dismissed from service

Posted in: Press Releases- Jun 26, 2011 Comments Off on BIR assistant commissioner dismissed from service

THE REVENUE Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) has secured the dismissal of a top official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) found with wealth disproportionate with his earnings as a public official.

Similarly, the Manila city treasurer was also ordered by the Ombudsman suspended pending a probe of RIPS’ administrative complaint against her.

RIPS, the anti-graft unit of the Department of Finance, won with finality its case against BIR Assistant Commissioner Edwin R. Abella, who was found guilty of dishonesty in 2005 for acquiring questionable wealth beyond his and his wife’s capacity.

In its January 14, 2005 decision, the Ombudsman said there was “substantial evidence” that Abella committed dishonesty for “acquiring vast amounts of money and/or properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary and/or other lawful means.”

Among other findings, the Ombudsman sided with RIPS that alleged that it was impossible for the respondent’s net worth to increase from P3.8 million in 1999 to P8.4 million in 2002 with his modest earnings.

Abella was also found guilty for not declaring in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) six properties he owned in Novaliches, Quezon City, including one that was estimated to worth P10 million.

The respondent, in a pleading dated Feb. 7, 2005, assailed the Ombudsman decision, saying it was “based on grave errors of facts and law and unfounded conjectures and surmises.”

The Ombudsman however denied Abella’s motion for reconsideration in an order dated June 11, 2011.

“The respondent failed to present new evidence that would warrant a reversal of the questioned decision,” the order stated.

“The arguments or issues raised by the respondent are but just a rehash of said issues or arguments already passed upon or ruled by this office,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman also suspended for six months without pay Manila City Treasurer Liberty M. Toledo, who RIPS sued for grave misconduct and dishonesty.

In a separate order last June 11, the Ombudsman said: “Notwithstanding any motion, appeal, or petition that may be filed by the respondent…, the implementation of this order shall not be interrupted within the prescribed period.”

The city government of Manila must implement the suspension five days from the receipt of the order, it added.

Toledo was alleged by RIPS to have failed to declare millions worth of properties in her SALN from 1999 to 2004, all of which were also found “grossly disproportionate” to her and her husband’s annual income.

“The evidence on hand sufficiently warrants the preventive suspension of respondent Liberty M. Toledo pending the conduct of administrative investigation of the instant case,” the order stated.

“Considering the nature of her duties and functions and the influence that her position brings, her continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation of the case.”

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].”

At present, 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.

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