DOF conducting lifestyle checks on 70 employees
By Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 7, 2017 at 4:01 pm

About 70 employees of revenue agencies belonging to the Department of Finance whose assets exceeded their annual pay will undergo lifestyle checks before this year ends.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin, who oversees the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (Rips), said in a statement Thursday that this was “in line with the Duterte administration’s goal of weeding out corruption in government.”

“For instance, there is one that we are investigating—in 1996 his annual salary was P80,000, he was able to buy a lot worth P40,000. Then in 1997 he reported that his annual salary was P126,000, he was able to buy a lot for P150,000. His annual salary is not even enough to pay for that lot,” Agabin said.

According to RIPS executive director Ray Gilberto Espinosa, about 10 more revenue personnel were being added to the list of those whose lifestyles were investigated each month.

“We started actively initiating investigations last January, so we are targeting around 70 plus by the end of the year,” Espinosa said.

The results of Rips’ investigations were being forwarded for further investigation and resolution to the Civil Service Commission or the Office of the Ombudsman.

On its website, Rips said that under the watch of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the DOF as of July this year “[took] punitive action against at least 19 erring local treasurers and other officials under its supervision, in line with President Duterte’s commitment to public accountability and transparency in government under his administration.”

Since its inception in 2003 until September this year, Rips investigated 576 personalities, filed 250 cases, charged 305 personalities, dismissed 47 from service, as well as suspended 96 others, the latest data on its website showed.

The DOF is faced with the challenge of discovering the unexplained wealth of its employees, who supposedly get better at hiding assets the higher they are in the bureaucracy, Agabin told reporters in October.

“Our problem is, the higher the rank, the smarter they get in hiding assets. We just have to outthink them,” Agabin had said.

The DOF is conducting lifestyle checks on its employees and on those working at its attached agencies after finding out that some workers own expensive condominium units and cars despite their meager salaries.

The DOF’s attached agencies include the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Local Government Finance, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Insurance Commission, as well as oversees local treasurers.

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