DOF conducts lifestyle checks on all its employees
Employees of the Department of Finance (DOF) are playing catch me if you can with their employer.
The DOF is faced with the challenge of discovering the unexplained wealth of its employees, who it says are better at hiding assets the higher they are in the bureaucracy.
“Our problem is, the higher the rank, the smarter they get in hiding assets. We just have to outthink them,” said Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin.
The DOF is conducting lifestyle checks on its employees and on those working at its attached agencies after finding out that some workers own expensive condominium units and cars despite their meager salaries.
Review of SALNs
“So what we do is to look up the SALNs [statements of assets, liabilities and net worth] of everyone under our umbrella.” Agabin told reporters on Friday night. “And then we compare, look at the trend and [their SALN] declaration.”
The DOF’s attached agencies are the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Local Government Finance, Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission and all local treasurers.
“Some are, let’s say, earning P20,000 a month, but you can see year-on-year jump in their SALNs … We discovered also, for instance, that they do not declare properties in their SALNs,” Agabin said.
Some officials and employees also collect cars, expensive bags and watches, as well as guns, Agabin added.
“Recently, we secured four or five [employees] for dismissal. Some of them, even if they earn only P40,000 a month they have two condos in Makati, expensive properties,” Agabin said.
The finance official said the DOF was investigating “many” employees, but declined to identify them.
“A couple” of high-ranking officials were also being investigated, he said. “Personally, it’s better if we investigate high-ranked officials, or else we will be accused of targeting only lower-level [employees].”
But Agabin admitted that higher-ranked officials were getting better at hiding their unexplained wealth.
The DOF has a unit called Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), which investigates and files charges against erring revenue officials.
On its website, RIPS said that on the watch of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the DOF as of July had taken “punitive action against at least 19 erring local treasurers and other officials under its supervision, in line with President Duterte’s commitment to public accountability and transparency in government under his administration.”
Since its inception in 2003 until September this year, RIPS had investigated a total of 576 people, filed 250 cases, charged 305 people, dismissed 47 from service and suspended 96 others.
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