MANILA, Philippines?Of the 64 companies found to have been involved in the P5.3-billion tax credit certificate (TCC) scam in the mid-1990s, 11 were owned by Faustino and Gloria Chingkoe, the major suspects in the scam.
A post-audit report showed that 64 companies were found to have fraudulently obtained 1,652 TCCs worth P5.3 billion from the Department of Finance's one-stop shop inter-agency tax credit and duty drawback center (OSS center) between 1995 and 1998.
The 11 Chingkoe-owned companies reportedly obtained 533 TCCs worth P2.5 billion? nearly half of the total P5.3 billion?between July 1992 and May 1998.
TCCs are refund payments that export companies are allowed to claim for duties paid on imported materials used for manufacture of products for export. TCCs can be used to settle tax obligations. Companies are also allowed to sell the TCCs to other companies.
In a report to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February 2004, Finance Undersecretary Inocencio P. Ferrer, head of Task Force 156, said the government had filed 622 criminal cases involving P1.2 billion worth of TCCs against 18 companies for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, estafa and falsification of public documents.
Ferrer said there were cases currently on trial in the Sandiganbayan, while some were pending at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Ferrer said the cases were on top of the 145 criminal cases involving eight companies and P1.3 billion in tax credits filed by the Department of Finance before the task force was created in 1999.
In a letter sent to the Senate in 2006, Jose Isagani M. Gonzales, lawyer of Felix Chingkoe, Faustino's brother and key prosecution witness in the tax credit scam, said that out of the 64 companies involved, 56 were endorsed for investigation to Task Force 156, a special presidential task force formed in 1999, and the remaining eight to the Ombudsman.
However, the task force stopped operations on Oct. 7, 2004. By then, it had completed the investigation of only 27 companies, according to Gonzales.
He said Task Force 156 failed and did not exert efforts to "identify and unmask" the masterminds and beneficial owners of other firms found to be involved in the scam. Inquirer Research.
Source: Inquirer Archives