Customs official suspended by Ombudsman, Gutierrez now out

Bureau of Customs Building, Manila, Philippine...
A May 11, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Finance
Two officials of the Bureau of Customs have been ordered suspended without pay for six months by the Ombudsman after “substantial evidence” showed they failed to declare assets amounting to millions of pesos.
Ordered suspended for six months are Customs collector I Rudy M. Amistad and Customs Operations Officer III Vivian D. Sacluti, separate orders from the Ombudsman stated.
The cases against the two were filed by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Department of Finance.
In a 15-page decision dated March 9 but which RIPS only received last May 10, the Ombudsman found Sacluti guilty of violating Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Ethical Conduct for Public Officials and Employees after she failed to declare a business establishment in her statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).
“As regards the alleged non-declaration of Bodgie Motor Works in the respondent’s SALN for the years 2000-2005, this office finds substantial evidence for violation [of the law],” the decision read.
The business, the order noted, was registered under the name of Teotimo U. Sacluti, whose conviction under the same offense was “rendered moot” after he retired on Sept. 20, 2008.
In ordering Mrs. Sacluti’s suspension, the Ombudsman said the husband’s claim that “he did not invest any amount in the said business… do not deserve consideration for being lame and self-serving.”
“As required by law, Teotimo and Vivian should have declared said business interest in their joint SALNs but failed to do so,” the decision added.
Meanwhile, in a 10-page order dated Feb. 5, collector Amistad of the Port of Manila was placed under “preventive suspension” for half a year pending the investigation of a 2009 case RIPS filed against him.
The case stemmed from Amistad’s failure to declare 13 of the 16 parcels of land he and his wife Pacita own, in a “glaring intentional omission, and a blatant falsehood under oath.”
In a complaint filed in Nov. 27, 2009, RIPS also alleged Amistad of “misrepresenting the true nature and extent of the subject parcels of land.
It cited Amistad’s property in Lapu-Lapu City, which according to the office’s estimates cost at least P3 million but which Amistad only declared as worth P500,000.
In addition, RIPS also alleged Amistad failed to file the required SALNs for the years 1970, 1972, 1974-1987, 1989-1992 and 1994-2008.
“At this stage of the investigation, the pieces of evidence submitted by the complainants against the respondent are strong enough to warrant his preventive suspension,” the order read.
At present, RIPS has filed a total of 84 cases against 124 public officials, 49 of whom were suspended and 19 dismissed from public service.