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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ombudsman orders BIR official to pay fine for failure to declare son,  unauthorized  travels

The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has ordered an officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to pay a fine equivalent to six months of his salary for failing to declare he has a child and for traveling overseas without securing the proper authority.  

In its decision rendered last year, the Ombudsman said Eugene Valentine Berganio should be held liable for “less serious dishonesty” for declaring in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS) that he has no child, when he, in fact, has a son. 

The Ombudsman, in an Oct. 21, 2021 decision also found that Berganio, employed as Revenue Officer II in the BIR, violated the Civil Service Commission (CSC)’s Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations when he traveled outside the country at least five times between June 1996 and March 2001 without securing any travel authority required of government employees. 

Berganio’s case stemmed from a complaint filed in 2018 by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance (DOF), which uncovered his false declarations and omissions. 

The Ombudsman was not persuaded by Berganio’s defense, submitted through a position paper, that he did not declare his child in his PDS because he was single. 

Berganio also failed to present any evidence to the Ombudsman to prove that he had obtained the required travel authority when he left the country several times in the past, but merely claimed that his offense had already been prescribed because the 10-year prescriptive period already ended when the RIPS complaint was filed in 2018.

“This case should serve as a stern reminder for all employees of the DOF and its attached agencies to always be truthful in accomplishing their PDS and other official documents, and to strictly comply with civil service rules,” DOF Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Bayani Agabin said.  

Agabin also supervises the RIPS, which is the DOF’s anti-corruption arm.  

According to the Ombudsman, there is “substantial evidence to hold Berganio liable for less serious dishonesty for his failure to indicate his child in his PDS because he made an untruthful statement when he left blank the space for the name of his child.” 

Citing the Supreme Court (SC) ruling in Villordon vs Avila, the Ombudsman said the intentional omission of the name of one’s children in one’s PDS amounts to dishonesty and falsification of an official document, which merits the penalty of dismissal from the service. 

The Ombudsman, however, said Berganio should be held liable for the lighter offense of “less serious dishonesty” as there was no sufficient evidence that he had intentionally omitted the name of his child.

The Ombudsman’s decision that Berganio violated the CSC’s Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations was based on the SC ruling in the case of Concerned Employees of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Meycauayan, Bulacan vs Bacani.

RIPS is encouraging the public to immediately report any suspicious activities and transactions in the agencies under the DOF (e.g. BOC, BIR, SEC), through its Information Against Corruption page, which can be accessed using the URL https://www.dof.gov.ph/report-corruption/.


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