A tightened force to fight corruption is bound to be conducted in one of the executive departments of the government as the Department of Finance (DOF) has expressed willingness to have their officials and employees undergo lifestyle check, particularly in the two of the most controversial offices of the DOF, Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
“So what we do is to look up the SALNs of everyone under our umbrella. That’s the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Local Government Finance, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Insurance Commission and all local treasurers. And then we compare, look at the trend and (their) declaration,” Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin told reporters Friday night.
According to Finance undersecretary Bayani Agabin, some personnel were found to have unexplained wealth and properties, which are not declared in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
He revealed that there are personnel who earn P40,000 monthly but own two condos in Makati. He added that there are also high-ranking officials who are included in the investigation. However, he refused to identify names.
“Recently, we secured four or five [personnel] for dismissal. Some of them, even if they earn only P40,000 a month they have two condos in Makati, expensive properties,” Agabin said.
“Some are, let’s say, earning P20,000 a month, but you can see year-on-year there’s a big jump in their SALN. Then, we also have authority to ask for certificates of titles in their name. We discovered that they do not declare in their SALN some properties,” he said.
The undersecretary stressed that the anti-corruption arm of the DOF called Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) have been receiving complaints from anonymous sources and news articles claiming that some employees have hidden wealth.
“There are a couple of high-ranking officials. We cannot tell you until we file. For me personally, it’s better the higher the rank because others might say we’re targeting only those in the lower level,” Agabin was quoted as saying in a PhilStar report.
The RIPS has the power to investigate allegations of corruption in the DOF and its attached agencies and file necessary charges against erring officials with the proper government agencies.
Agabin also said that the agency will file cases to the Office of the Ombudsman or the Civil Service Commission if there are corroborative shreds of evidence found in the investigation.
“Personally, it’s better if we investigate high-ranked officials, or else we will be accused of targeting only lower-level [personnel],” he said.
“Our problem is, mas tumataas ang rank, mas umuutak, mas gumagaling magtago [the higher the rank, the wiser they get, they better they become in hiding]. We just have to out-think them,” he added.
As of September 20, 2017, RIPS have charged 305 personalities, investigated 576, filed cases against 250, dismissed 47 from service, and suspended 96.