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Lifestyle checks target 'Al Capones' in government

October 16,2017 18:29

Senator Grace Poe said lifestyle checks “should be the easier way to pin down the Al Capones at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),” referring to an American mobster in the 1930s who was sent to prison for racketeering.

Senator Grace Poe said lifestyle checks “should be the easier way to pin down the Al Capones at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),” referring to an American mobster in the 1930s who was sent to prison for racketeering. Senate PRIB/Romy Bugante, File
MANILA, Philippines — Senators have expressed full support for the Department of Finance’s ongoing lifestyle checks on executives of revenue generating agencies under the DOF to make it easy for authorities to prosecute corrupt officials.
Sen. Grace Poe said lifestyle checks “should be the easier way to pin down the Al Capones at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),” referring to an American mobster in the 1930s who was sent to prison for racketeering.
“It’s time to put an end to the gall and hubris of these people who had it too good for way too long under the pretext of serving the people,” Poe said.
“This is a surefire way of forfeiting the money these people have siphoned, stemming corruption at the agencies where they work and ensuring that revenue collected by these agencies go to government coffers,” she said.
Poe cited a case of a BOC clerk whose salary was only P9,000 a month but was able to buy a Porsche sports car and a former customs policeman, whose son figured in a recent P6.4-billion smuggling of drugs from China and was able to acquire properties worth several millions of pesos.
Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the committee on financial institutions, said such lifestyle checks should be done regularly to make it effective and serve as a deterrent against corruption.
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Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, said it was about time that such checks be done on BOC and BIR officials.
“It is important that they be done fairly and to ensure honesty in government service. Those with assets or lifestyles not contained in their (statements of assets, liabilities and net worth) should be prosecuted under the laws on graft and forfeiture,” Angara said.
He said no less than the Constitution calls on public servants to lead simple and modest lives.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the committee on economic affairs, also supported the DOF’s plan, saying the nature of its officials’ work, as stewards of the government's wealth, “makes them prone to temptations of corruption.”
“Therefore, it is essential for DOF personnel to be completely transparent about their personal finances,” Gatchalian said.
BOC Collectors’ Association president Lourdes Mangaoang has also expressed support for the conduct of lifestyle checks but believes that it should also cover other agencies listed as corrupt government agencies and BOC officials who were mentioned in the 604-kilo of shabu investigation, even those who have already resigned.
Mangaoang said it is her personal opinion that the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) should look into the lifestyles of BOC officials, whether or not they are still with the agency. – With Evelyn Macairan

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