Cagayan Customs officer sued

Posted in: Press Releases- Dec 01, 2011 No Comments

ANOTHER official of the Bureau of Customs has failed the lifestyle check conducted by the Finance department resulting in criminal and administrative cases against him.

Eduardo G. Wong, Customs operations officer IV and acting chief of the assessment division in the Customs office in Cagayan de Oro City, was charged with violations of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees and Revised Penal Code, for allegedly accumulating wealth unparallel with his income.

In a 19-page complaint filed by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), Wong was also alleged to have committed serious dishonesty and grave misconduct making “false, deceptive and incomplete” statements in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

RIPS is the anti-corruption unit of the Finance department, which has supervision over the state’s main revenue agencies such as the Customs bureau.

“An order [should] be issued directing respondent Eduardo G. Wong’s dismissal from the service for the administrative offenses,” the complaint filed before the Ombudsman said.

Data presented in the complaint showed that Wong, who was promoted in 1992 as operations officer from being a Customs watchman in 1972, had an increased his net worth to P6.69 million from just P2.98 million in just a decade from 2000 to 2009.

The increase in Wong’s net worth was due to his acquisition of several properties in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin as well as other assets like cars. These, the complaint stated, are “grossly disproportionate” to his “modest earnings” amounting only to P334,236.00 annually.

RIPS also alleged that Wong concealed the true value of his properties in his SALN “to lessen or tame the growth of his net worth approximately 10%.”

“From the foregoing analysis, respondent Wong’s net worth magnified up to 125% in a span of 10 years or the cumulative amount of P3.7 million,” the complaint stated.

Furthermore, Wong was also alleged to have failed to declare his business interests, the complaint stated, whereas 15 single-detached and duplex type houses were discovered being rented out to tenants. This is on top of a commercial building leasing business named “MGW Enterprise” and a restaurant “My Fastfoods,” which RIPS discovered to be under the name of Wong’s wife.

Section 8 of RA 6713 mandates that public officials and employees should accomplish and submit declarations of “their assets, liabilities net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age.”

“In addition, by making inaccurate and fabricated statements in his SALNs regarding his assets, liabilities and net worth, respondent Wong violated Articles 171, paragraph 4 and 183 of the Revised Penal Code” or the falsification by public officer or employee, the complaint stated.

Wong’s “mendacious attitude and delinquent behavior” also merits him administrative offenses of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct, “thereby warranting his ouster from the civil service,” RIPS added.

Last month, RIPS through an importer sued Paulino Elevado IV, a Customs administrative aide, also for violations of RA 3019 and RA 6713 as well as bribery. In August, RIPS also charged Edita C. Yambao, Customs operations officer III, for the same offenses.

RIPS has been filing cases against suspected corrupt revenue officials and employees since 2003 pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 259. As of today, the unit had already filed 89 cases against 130 individuals, 55 of whom were already suspended, while 20 were dismissed from service.

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