BIR Official’s Manipulative Tactics In SALNs Bears Out, Says Ombudsman

Posted in: Press Releases- Nov 25, 2011 No Comments

The Office of the Ombudsman, in its Order dated 31 May 2011, upheld its Decision dated September 8, 2009, which earlier found Amado Q. Navarro, Chief Revenue Officer IV of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), administratively liable for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and violation of Republic Act 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”. Accordingly, he was meted the penalties of Dismissal from the service, along with forfeiture of his retirement benefits and disqualification to hold public office.

Based on the lifestyle investigation conducted by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF), Navarro steadily amassed extensive landholdings which comprised of parcels of land and improvements thereon, residential and commercial multi-storey structures, commercial stalls and buildings, and a family-owned resort, scattered in Baguio City and La Union. As sourced from verified information, RIPS filed the complaint against Navarro on May 30, 2005.

The subject Order probed into Navarro’s motion for reconsideration of its 2009 Decision which held him guilty of the said administrative offenses. In the main, it cited Navarro as saying that his properties and its actual values were, allegedly, all duly reported in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs), even adducing the necessary documents such as the Deeds of Sale, Certificates Authorizing Registration and Tax Declarations appurtenant to his allegations. According to Navarro’s Counter-Affidavit, aside from his salary, he received income from his part-time work as a CPA Board Reviewer at the University of Baguio and as a professor at the Baguio Colleges Foundation from 1981 to 1990. He likewise averred that the earnings from his businesses such as the resort, bicycle rentals, grocery/general merchandise, and leased apartment units and store spaces enabled him to make such substantial acquisitions.

Nonetheless, the Ombudsman did not find Navarro’s motion meritorious and maintained that the latter’s premeditated scheme of grouping his real properties and its acquisition costs, reporting blanket and ambiguous liabilities, and concealing a co-owned real asset, his business interests and his wife’s financial connections were supported by substantial evidence, which infractions constituted violations of Section 7, Republic Act 3019, as amended and Section 8, Republic Act 6713. Similarly, Navarro’s nefarious acts gave rise to Grave Misconduct in office as well as Dishonesty, which aptly called for his Dismissal from the service.

Per Ombudsman’s findings, Navarro’s inclination towards making joint purchases or acquisitions of real properties with his siblings and in-laws was unmistakable as borne by the records of the case. Consequently, as the Ombudsman asserted, there was an “overdeclaration” of the stated values and improvement costs of his properties, which severe slip-up could have been avoided by Navarro, had he included only his assigned portion in the purchase prices or expansion outlays. Moreover, Navarro’s “lumping-up” treatment of the acquisition costs of his assets was seriously flawed and unauthorized by law.
“It should be noted that this lumping-up or joining together of acquisition prices is contrary to the provisions of Section 7 of R.A. No. 3019, which requires and mandates that all declaration to be made in the SALNs should be true and detailed,” the Order partially reads.

RIPS is the anti-corruption unit of the DOF, which is mandated under Executive Order 259, series of 2003, to detect, investigate and prevent graft and corrupt practices among officials and employees under the Department and its attached bureaus and agencies.

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