CA upholds dismissal of 4 DOF execs in P250M tax credit scam
MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of four Department of Finance (DOF) officials linked to a P250-million tax credit scam in the late ’90s.
The Court’s 10th Division junked a petition filed by Mark Binson, Sylvialina Daguimol, Marife Cabadin and Emelita Tizon, all of the DOF’s One Stop Shop (OSS) Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center. The Ombudsman found the four guilty of grave misconduct and ordered them dismissed from the service on Jan. 31, 2007.
The four DOF employees were the technical staffers at the OSS Center who evaluated the application for P250.98-million worth of tax credit certificates (TCCs) of Victory Textile Mills Inc.(VTMI), which turned out to be a fictitious company.
In a 30-page decision dated Sept. 30 and written by Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, the appeals tribunal ruled that the petitioners failed to disprove that they were the ones who evaluated and approved the release of 99 TCCs amounting to P250,982,318 for VTMI.
Concurring with the ruling were the other division members, Justices Francisco Acosta and Angelita Gacutan.
The justices did not give credence to the petitioners’ claim that they were “just performing their duties” when they approved VTMI’s claims for TCCs. The four claimed, among others, that they approved the application based only on the submitted documents and in accordance with the guidelines of the Board of Investments.
“The fact that petitioners’ evaluations were reviewed by their ‘superiors’ does not mitigate their liabilities. Petitioners are the first legal evaluators of the tax credit applications/claims of VTMI,” the justices ruled.
“The foregoing are more than adequate to convince a reasonable mind that the technical staff of [the center], including herein petitioners, deliberately or through gross inexcusable negligence, had given VTMI undue benefits to the detriment of the government,” they added.
The VTMI was able to secure from the center a total of 99 TCCs from the third quarter of 1995 to the first quarter of 1999.
A special presidential task force later discovered that VTMI had no physical and legal existence, and even its listed directors and officers were fictitious persons. The company also used fake support documents for its applications and spurious links with other firms.
The task force also found out that VTMI sold 67 certificates, worth P178.52 million, to 13 companies, 11 of which used the certificates to pay their tax debts and duties to the government.