BIR couple sacked over unexplained wealth

Posted at 03/19/14 3:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A couple working for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has been dismissed from service after being found guilty of amassing unexplained wealth.

In a 13-page decision, the Office of the Ombudsman found revenue officers Marlon and Emma Pascual guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards (Republic Act 6713) for their failure to declare numerous expensive vehicles and business interests in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

“With respondents-spouses Pascual deliberate attempt to evade the mandatory disclosure of all assets acquired during their incumbency in order to conceal their accumulation of wealth which is manifestly out of proportion to their salaries, they are guilty of dishonesty,” the decision read.

The dismissal includes forfeiture of all retirement benefits, cancellation of civil service eligibility and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including any government-owned or controlled corporation.

The case stemmed from an investigation and lifestyle check conducted by the Department of Finance-Revenue Integrity Protection Service (DOF-RIPS), which led to the discovery of SUVs, including a Ford Explorer, Honda CRV, Hyundai Starex, and a Mitsubishi car registered to the couple’s daughter who was a minor and unemployed at that time.

The Pascuals said they have several businesses, but DOF-RIPS investigation also showed that no business and financial interests were disclosed in in their SALNs.

“Such non-disclosure essentially embraced concealment of unexplained wealth,” the Ombudsman said in the decision.

The couple declared various loans but the Ombudsman said the loans “raised more questions instead of settling the controversy.

“How were respondents-spouses Pascual able to keep up with the monthly amortizations and their remarkable monthly living cost of expenses considering their meager income?” the Ombudsman added.

The couple had a combined gross annual salary of P278,424 in 2001, when they purchased a vehicle worth P1,800,000.