Belmonte: Corruption has no place in city hall

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte issued a stern warning to city government personnel yesterday after two employees were arrested for allegedly asking for bribes from a businessman.

“Corruption has no place in the city government. We have a zero tolerance policy against corruption,” Belmonte said in a statement.

“We will not take this issue lightly and we will take appropriate measures to ensure that our public servants have integrity and are transparent because the constituents deserve the best services from us,” she added.

According to the city government, two employees of the city treasurer’s office were arrested on Thursday during an entrapment operation conducted by the Quezon City Police District.

Initial investigation showed that the arrested employees offered to fast-track a client’s request for a certificate of retirement of business for a “discounted” fee of P50,000, from the original assessment of P77,632.

The cost for the certificate usually depends on the sales, area of business and deficiency taxes. Discounts are usually not available, unless mandated by applicable laws.

In exchange for the document, the arrested employees allegedly told the client that he would not be provided an official receipt, prompting him to report the incident to the police.

A case was filed against the arrested suspects for violating Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

Belmonte said the city government will not let the incident pass. 

She also reminded clients not to offer bribes, cut corners or circumvent existing processes, laws and regulations.

“Here in QC, we will never condone the ‘palakasan’ system. No one should dangle money or gifts in exchange for special favors or a shortcut to our processes. We have embraced digitalization so that everything is done expeditiously, eliminating red tape,” she added.

City human resource and management department head Noel del Prado said the respondents may be held administratively and criminally liable for the alleged illegal activity.

An internal investigation will also be conducted to look into the culpability of the employees.

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