2 Cabinet officials under probe for corruption – PACC

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2019   •   482

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 40th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on August 5, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) launched an investigation in February against two Cabinet officials of the Duterte government following complaints of corruption.

According to PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica, the two Cabinet officials are aware that they are under probe and even President Rodrigo Duterte has been informed of the ongoing investigation.

Belgica, however, refused to name the concerned Cabinet members before the press.

“Ang investigation kasi doesn’t mean they are already guilty, so it’s unfair to mention them and make it appear na they are corrupt,” he said.

The PACC official said they are about to conclude the probe afterwhich, they will submit the report to the President who will then decide on the fate of the two Cabinet officials.

Meanwhile, the PACC hopes that more Cabinet members will voluntarily submit themselves for lifestyle checking as part of the administration’s anti-corruption drive.

“That will be honorable on their part to do,” Belgica noted.

Among those who first submitted for lifestyle checking were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and newly installed Mindanao Development Authority Chief former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

Based on PACC records, about 200 staff and officials from various government offices are now being investigated due to corruption complaints.

Among them are from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO); the Bureaus of Customs and Internal Revenue; the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and the Department of Transportation (DOTr). – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

3 LTFRB employees sacked over alleged corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Three employees of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were fired from their jobs over alleged corrupt practices.

In its order dated October 25, the LTFRB terminated the services of Rustom Tolentino, Dahlee Joy Saud and Jamil Dimakuta for their alleged involvement in “fixing” activities in the agency’s Northern Mindanao office in Cagayan de Oro City.

Tolentino was the designated driver of the said office; Saud was assigned as frontline assistant while Dimakuta was an inspector. The LTFRB said that based on investigation, the three were involved in “fixing” activities to profit from franchise-related applications.

The agency said the investigation was prompted by a complaint, accusing Tolentino and Saud of demanding money, ranging from P50,000 to P60,000, as “additional payments” for the franchise processing.

The probe revealed the duo’s alleged scheme where Tolentino would receive the applicants and then direct them to Saud who would require the “additional processing payment” aside from the standard processing fees.

Meanwhile, the probe on Dimakuta was launched after a taxi operator accused the inspector of demanding P50,000 for the processing of the complainant’s taxi franchise application.

The LTFRB Dimakuta admitted the accusation when confronted.

“We’ve said this before and we will say it again— walang bayad ang prangkisa. The LTFRB remains committed to the Duterte administration’s drive against corruption,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, stressed that corruption of any form will not be condoned within the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies.

“Hindi gatasan ang gobyerno. I sternly warn all our employees: alingasngas lang ng katiwalian, tanggal ka,” Tugade warned.

He also urged the public to help in the government’s campaign against corruption by reporting any anomaly or corruption in agencies.

“I ask the public to cooperate. Isumbong ninyo sa aming tanggapan kung may katiwalian. Nandiyan ang social media, nandiyan ang 8888, huwag kayong matakot na dumulog sa amin at aaksyunan namin ‘yan,” he said.

“Also, I urge you not to deal with fixers. Kung ayaw ninyo ng katiwalian, huwag kayong makipag-transaksyon sa mga fixer,” he added.

Duterte orders revamp at BuCor due to corruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the revamp of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Wednesday (September 18) due to alleged corruption.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has confirmed that the president plans to remove all the officials and employees at BuCor.

“It’s total revamp. He’ll remove all of them there,” he said. Panelo explained that BuCor officials and employees will be placed on floating status.

“Because of the corruption there. He [Duterte] wants to stop it,” he added.

BuCor is currently facing corruption allegations after 1,914 heinous crime convicts were released through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

During the Senate hearing, several BuCor officials also admitted other irregularities including the “hospital pass for sale” scheme.

The revamp, Panelo said, would give way for the newly appointed BuCor chief Gerald Quitaleg Bantag to freely select the people he would want to work with in BuCor.—AAC

Duterte pitches for gross taxation to address corruption in gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the use of gross taxation system over net tax collection in a bid to eliminate corruption in the government.

Duterte floated the idea on Thursday, saying the adoption of gross taxation system would significantly reduce corruption, starting in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The president previously made mention of this proposal during a media interview in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“Pag gross, wala na. ‘Yang mga examiner, wala nang trabaho ‘yan. Dito ka sa neto eh kasi may mga ano, bayaran, exemption ganun,” he said.

“Kung sinsero talaga kayo and you are on my side to stop corruption, if media would really help government and the Filipino people, all you have to do — tayong lahat, we agitate Congress, gross na tayo,” he added.

The president, however, did not elaborate on how the suggestion will be implemented.

Gross income tax is a tax assessed against the money somebody earns and is applicable to income from a job, as well as to funds that are set aside in an estate or trust.

While net taxes, are levied on production less subsidies received. It also paid to the government less transfer payments.

Net taxes are a simple version of a checkbook balance for governments as they measure the inflows and outflows of the state’s tax activities.

Duterte said that the need for examiners will be eliminated if the computation system of corporate taxes will be changed.

“I guarantee you, ‘pag pumunta tayo ng gross, wala ng examiner, wala ng deduction then they do not haggle for anything. ‘Pag nandiyan na ‘yung resibo, ‘yan na ‘yun,” he said.

The chief executive said this form of tax is already being used in foreign countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.

In response to Duterte’s suggestion, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it will look into shifting to gross taxation.

Aside from adopting new system of taxation, the president earlier suggested the removal of brokers in the Bureau of Customs to curb corruption.

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