Ombudsman suspends BIR, BOC employees over unexplained wealth

Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henarez advises the camp of boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao to talk with the BIR to know all the problems on the garnishment order against his bank accounts during a press conference at the Department of Justice on Thursday (Nov. 28, 2013). Flanking her are BIR Deputy Commissioner Estela V. Sales (left) and Atty. Albert Opon. (MNS photo)

Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henarez advises the camp of boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao to talk with the BIR to know all the problems on the garnishment order against his bank accounts during a press conference at the Department of Justice on Thursday (Nov. 28, 2013). Flanking her are BIR Deputy Commissioner Estela V. Sales (left) and Atty. Albert Opon. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Two government employees were placed under preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman over their alleged unexplained wealth and failure to declare real properties in their asset statements.

The suspension stemmed from the cases filed by the Department of Finance-Revenue Integrity Protection Service (DOF-RIPS) against Revenue Officer III Evelyn Rodriguez Ramirez of District Office 59 in Lipa City, Batangas, and Ester Grafil Sese, a Bureau of Customs (BOC) Administrative Aide IV.

Under Section 24 of the Ombudsman Act of 1989, “the Ombudsman or his Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is strong.”

The anti-graft body may also suspend government officers and employees if “(a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.”

Ramirez is alleged to have acquired wealth disproportionate to her lawful income. For instance, in 1993 to 1997, her aggregate salary was just P360,491.50. The respondent, however, was able to purchase seven parcels of land from 1991 to 1997 valued at nearly P1 million.

Ramirez was also found to have bought a Mitsubishi Montero, spending P325,824.00 for its monthly amortization from January to December 2011 despite her annual gross income of only P297,644.00.

The BIR employee likewise failed to declare all her real estate properties as well as a number of motor vehicles and a business investment in a farm in her statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) from 2000 to 2013.

The DOF said she failed to secure the necessary travel authorities for her trips abroad, including a trip to Hong Kong in October 2000, the United States in 2001, 2008 and 2010, and to Dubai in 2011.

“This case arose from an anonymous complaint allegedly for respondent’s extortion activities,” according to the DOF-RIPS.

Meanwhile, Customs employee Sese was found to have acquired a townhouse in 2002, the amortization of which was worth P307,613.90 despite her gross salary then of only P62,608.00. Sese also purchased jewelries and appliances amounting to P90,000 that same year.

Sese paid hundreds of thousands of pesos for the townhouse’s amortization in the subsequent years when her annual earnings only reached close to P80,000, the DOF-RIPS noted.

The Customs employee also failed to declare all her family’s motor vehicles, her husband’s firearms, and her husband’s business interest in her 2008 to 2012 SALNs, and may have made false and inconsistent declarations, the DOF-RIPS added.

Charges of grave misconduct, serious dishonest and forfeiture were also filed against Ramirez and Sese. (MNS)

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