MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Revenue Integrity Protection Service (DOF-RIPS), the anti-corruption arm of the Department of Finance (DOF), has furthered its anti-corruption drive after it successfully secured the dismissal of a high-ranking official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for accumulating wealth disproportionate to her salary.
In an 11-page decision by the Ombudsman, Zenaida B. Chang, Assistant Commissioner of Financial and Administrative Services in charge of BIR’s budget and procurement, was found guilty by the Office of the Ombudsman for Serious Dishonesty and Gross Neglect of Duty.
The Ombudsman found that Chang was able to acquire significant and substantial properties and assets consisting of three houses and lots in Felville Subdivision, three lots in Goldridge Estate, two lots in Felville Subdivision, two lots in New Intramuros, two Pajeros, a Mercedes Benz MB-100, Mitsubishi L-300, a Toyota Revo and Toyota Altis. The decision stated that the total annual net income of Chang and her husband in 2009 was P933,874.
“Construing spouses Chang’s acquisitions vis-à-vis their legitimate fixed incomes as of 1997, there is reason to believe that respondent Chang has consistently under declared her and her husband’s true net worth to conceal their real wealth and hide the dubious nature of the undeclared sources of their disposable funds”, the decision said.
The Ombudsman further stated that “the loans obtained by the spouses Chang from various creditors are presented as defense to the charge of unlawful wealth acquisitions. Such defense would have been tenable if the couple’s net worth remained unchanged as the increase in assets would have been offset by the debts payable. The defense of respondent’s availment of ‘pay-when-able’ from liberal personal creditors is a matter too tenuous to believe considering their consistent spike in net worth despite the presence of these supposed personal loans.”
Chang started with the BIR in 1987 as a Revenue Document Processor with a salary of P18,636 per annum. Prior to her transfer to the BIR, she held the position of Chief Accountant at the Professional Regulation Commission in 1974 with an annual salary of P30,636.
Adding to her woes, the Ombudsman also issued a Joint Resolution recommending the filing of eight counts of Perjury against Chang for falsely declaring her yearly net worth in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth for the period 2000–2007. The resolution also recommended the filing of forfeiture proceedings against her for her unexplained wealth. Chang’s dismissal from the service, which takes effect immediately, includes the cancellation of her eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.
DOF-RIPS is currently experiencing a string of successes in the cases it has filed against corrupt officials of the BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Just last week, the Ombudsman ruled favorably on the cases filed by DOF-RIPS by dismissing from the service spouses Marlon and Emma Pascual, both BIR employees, and Eduardo Wong, BOC Acting Chief of Assessment at the Port of Cagayan De Oro. DOF-RIPS is exhorting the public to partner in its anti-corruption campaign by reporting corrupt practices and extravagant lifestyles of BOC, BIR, Bureau of the Treasury and DOF employees and officials via www.perangbayan.com. (MNS)