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70 DOF personnel face lifestyle check

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) aims to conduct lifestyle checks on at least 70 employees at its main office and attached agencies before the end of the year.

In a statement, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said that the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) investigation, which is in line with the Duterte administration’s goal of weeding out corruption in government, would include those of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

This check, he added, would cover officials and employees who have acquired real estate and personal properties with amounts not commensurate to their annual salaries.

“For instance, there is one that we are investigating – in 1996 his annual salary was P80,000 but he was able to buy a lot worth P40,000. Then in 1997, he (reported that his) annual salary was P126,000, he was able to buy a lot for P150,000. His annual salary is not even enough to pay for that lot,” Agabin said.

RIPS executive director Ray Gilberto Espinosa said the office adds at least 10 personnel every month to the lifestyle check coverage.

“So we started actively initiating investigations last January. We are targeting around 70-plus by the end of the year,” Espinosa said.

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The RIPS, which is the DOF anti-corruption arm, forwards administrative cases to either the Office of the Ombudsman or the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for further investigation and resolution.

From January to September 2017, the RIPS said the ombudsman and the CSC found several employees and officials of the BOC and the BIR guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty, and found anomalies regarding their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

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