Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the dismissal from service of a Bureau of Customs (BOC) officer and two municipal treasurers in line with the Department of Finance (DOF)’s drive to remove or penalize erring officials in the department and its attached agencies.
Acting on rulings of the Office of the Ombudsman, Dominguez directed BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to dismiss from service Customs Operations Officer Khalid Minoao Calandada and likewise instructed Executive Director Nino Raymond Alvina of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) to remove municipal treasurers Ananie Raluto of Zamboanga del Sur and Eddie Rodriguez of Occidental Mindoro from the government ranks.
Another municipal treasurer, Carlos Bengil of South Cotabato, was ordered suspended from office for one month.
With just four-and-a-half months into the Duterte administration, Dominguez has so far taken punitive action against 14 employees under DOF’s supervision for various offenses, ranging from simple neglect of duty to grave misconduct, based on the results of separation investigations by the Ombudsman.
In the latest batch of dismissals, Calandada was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman based on charges filed against him last year by the DOF-Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS).
Calandada, with the rank of Customs Operations Officer I, was found guilty of serious dishonesty for his repeated failure to declare certain properties and misleading declarations in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) from 2008 to 2014.
The Ombudsman said Calandada’s “deliberate assertions of falsehood made under oath” led it to uncover the following: that he was able to acquire a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, a .45 caliber pistol, a shotgun, and incurred bank and personal loans of over P6 million — all of which he had failed to declare in his annual SALNs.
Along with dismissal, Calandada was also penalized by the Ombudsman with the cancellation of his eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. He was also barred from taking the civil service examinations.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez, in his capacity as assistant municipal treasurer of Santa Cruz Occidental Mindoro, was found guilty of grave misconduct after the Ombudsman found him to have had an “indirect financial and pecuniary interest” in the procurement of P1.9 million worth of petroleum product s from the private firm R4 Fuel, which is owned by his mother Lydia.
The Ombudsman also found out that R4 Fuel was able to bag the contract for supplying the Santa Cruz municipal government with fuel and other oil products sans any public bidding or other approved alternative modes of procurement allowed under the law.
Raluto, who was the municipal treasurer and chairperson of the Bids and Awards Committee of Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, was found liable for dishonesty and grave misconduct for being one of the parties involved in thepurchase of 3,332 bottles of liquid foliar fertilizer (1) without the benefit of public bidding and (2) overpriced by as much as P4.09 million, according to the Ombudsman’s findings.
Bengil, on the other hand, was merely suspended from office for one month for simple neglect of duty when the Ombudsman found him to have made “an error in judgment” in subscribing to the purchase of P1.8 million worth of fertilizer for the municipality of Norala in South Cotabato without conducting any competitive public bidding for its procurement.
Earlier, Dominguez ordered the implementation of penalties ranging from dismissal from the service to suspension without pay against eight municipal treasurers and two other Customs employees.
He has also ordered the filing of administrative charges against fugitive Laoag City Treasurer Elena Asuncion and has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct deeper probes into the over P85 million-worth of missing public funds under her accountability.
Acting on earlier Ombudsman rulings, Dominguez directed the BLGF to dismiss from the service municipal treasurer Angelita Roble of Tudela, Cebu and to suspend for one year without pay Local Treasury Operations Officer IV Marilou Rivera, the designated provincial treasurer in-charge-of-office of Misamis Oriental.
He also ordered the BLGF to suspend municipal treasurer Cherryl Aguirre of Valladolid, Negros Occidental for three months without pay, and municipal treasurer Rosita Siniclang of Emilio, Ilocos Sur for one month and one day.
At the BOC, Dominguez directed Faeldon to suspend for two months without pay Special Agent Samuel Gamao Saed and for six months without pay Customs Operations Officer IV Jerry Gomez Ponce, both for simple dishonesty and simple neglect of duty.
The finance chief ordered the dismissal from the service of Aniceta Suyat, the municipal treasurer of Buguias, Benguetfor grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for her alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam; and Candidato Macabangon, the municipal treasurer of Bubong, Lanao del Sur, for serious dishonesty when he submitted falsified ‘reconstructed’ SALNs from 2000 to 2006.
Dominguez has also ordered the forfeiture of the retirement benefits of Cipriano Plazos, the municipal treasurer of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte after the Ombudsman found him administratively guilty of “grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
The Secretary also suspended without pay municipal treasurer Jose Pastor Jr. of Talaingod, Davao del Norte for simple neglect of duty.