Finance, BIR and Customs employees sued for unexplained wealth

Posted in: Press Releases- Dec 13, 2011 No Comments

THREE OFFICIALS are the subject of preliminary investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman on charges of Falsification of Official Documents, Perjury, Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty, Gross Neglect of Duty, violations of “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” and “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees”, and accumulation of unexplained wealth beyond government salary and other lawful income.

On December 2, 2011, the Finance Department’s anti-corruption arm, Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), initiated several criminal and administrative complaints against the following persons: Antonio M. Veses, Supervising Customs Operations Officer and Assistant Chief, Informal Entry Division of the Bureau of Customs; Jessie J. Carlos, Tax Specialist I, of the DOF’s “One-Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (DOF-OSS Center); and Madelyn T. Sacluti, Revenue Officer IV of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

RIPS conducted separate investigations into the lifestyle and assets of the concerned individuals under DOF’s jurisdiction which yielded findings that support the prosecution of the said charges.

According to the complaint, Veses, despite his gross annual income of P395,676, was able to amass several real properties and put up business investments, such as townhouses and office spaces for rent, AMV Facial Care Center, AMV Reflex and Body Massage, and a private resort, known as “Jardin de Antonio” in Tanauan, Batangas. His sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs) bared that even though he has enormous loans, he managed to disburse some of them in cash while simultaneously afforded high-ticket purchases such as a Honda Civic sedan, a Toyota Rav4 SUV, a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, and a house and lot in Parañaque City worth P7,500,000.

On different occasions, Veses manipulated some entries in his 2001, 2003 and 2010 SALNs as to the values or costs of his assets and liabilities which crucially affected his overall actual networth. Further scrutiny of his SALNs revealed that his net worth from 2001 to 2010 jacked up from P4,286,000 to P13,789,000.

More than a few of his properties were not also reported in his SALNs, such as the two commercial lands and a four-storey building located along Dr. A. Santos Ave., San Dionisio, Parañaque City; a 1994 Toyota Corolla sedan; two parcels of land and some improvements which comprised his Batangas garden resort. Similarly, some of his businesses were not correspondingly stated in his SALNs for the years that he actually acquired them. He also failed to disclose that he and his family have substantial interests in Leogistics Corporation, in which they serve as its incorporators and corporate officers at the same time.

As borne out in the complaint, Carlos’ numerous financial obligations such as credit card debts, mortgage payables and personal loans did not hamper his purchasing power. His SALNs disclosed that his property holdings include a Toyota Innova SUV, a Hyundai Starex Van, a two-storey house and lot along Felix Huertas St., Sta. Cruz, Manila for P3,000,000.00, and two farm lots in Darasa, Tanauan City, Batangas worth P4,000,000 in cash.

His service record showed that his yearly gross compensation for the years 2008 to 2010 ranged somewhere between P139,068 to P190,800 only, during the same period of time when such assets and liabilities were acquired. Based on the same document, his annual gross income for his present position is P210,408.00. On the other hand, the disorganized and incomplete information as to his assets, liabilities and business interest as shown in his SALNs for the years 2000 to 2010 underscored Carlos’ impertinent style in accomplishing the same.

Based on the 19-page complaint, Sacluti’s tenure at the BIR enabled her to acquire a number of real estate holdings situated in Quezon City and Laguna in spite of her modest salary of P380,532 per year.

A further probe of her generous investment in marketable securities for selected years appeared to be questionable as she subsisted only on her diffident income as a government employee, excluding applicable taxes and deductions. Findings of the investigation exposed her failure to report three real properties in her SALNs, inclusive of a four-storey building and a residential lot in Tandang Sora, Quezon City and another residential land in Maulawin, Pagsanjan, Laguna. In addition, she did not state with particularity her three Toyota motor vehicles, namely: 1997 Toyota Corolla, 2003 Toyota Revo and 2009 Toyota Innova but collectively referred to them as “vehicles” in her SALNs.

For eight (8) years, Sacluti declared in her SALNs that she incurred a P50,000 GSIS/Pag-IBIG HDMF loan but it turned out that the same loan was actually  P11,898.44 and already paid in full since January 11, 1999. Moreover, she did not indicate in her SALNs that her husband was the owner of “R. Sacluti Enterprises” as well as the contractor/lessor of an apartment on Ruby St., Tandang Sora, Quezon City. Finally, she failed to secure the necessary travel authorities relative to her foreign trips which is required under Civil Service regulations, Executive Order No.6, series of 1986 and DOF’s department orders and related rules.

In the course of the investigation, these respondents may undergo a six-month preventive suspension without pay pursuant to Section 24, Republic Act 6770, or the “Ombudsman Act of 1989”.

If criminally and administratively indicted, their dismissal from the government service is likewise inevitable. Consequently, the alleged properties that they unlawfully accumulated will be subject to forfeiture and reversion to the government in accordance with Section 2, Republic Act 1379.

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