Duterte offers GSIS chief post to BIR’s Aranas
Amid a power struggle in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, President Duterte has offered BIR Deputy Commissioner Jesus Clint Aranas, who helped in his campaign, the still unfilled position of president and general manager of state-run pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Sources told the Inquirer that during a private dinner with Aranas last Sunday, the President told the BIR official that he will be appointed to GSIS post.
According to sources, Aranas was already interviewed on Wednesday by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG), the body overseeing GOCCs, including the GSIS.
Sought by the Inquirer for confirmation, Aranas neither confirmed nor denied his appointment to the GSIS.
Asked if he will resign from the BIR, Aranas replied: “A big no, as I serve at the pleasure of the President.”
Aranas is said to be in conflict with Commissioner Caesar Dulay, who heads the country’s biggest revenue agency.
While Aranas’ name had figured as a major contender for the BIR chief post before Duterte assumed office, it was Dulay, the President’s roommate at the YMCA dormitory in the 1960s, who was eventually appointed.
Aranas, who was national treasurer of Duterte’s political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), was later on appointed a deputy commissioner in charge of the tax agency’s legal group.
In July, Dulay accused Aranas of initiating investigation on the alleged “anomalous reduction” of Del Monte Philippines Inc.’s tax liabilities.
According to reports, Del Monte’s tax liabilities from 2011 to 2013 were allegedly slashed by the BIR to just P65.4 million from P30 billion.
As such, a case against Dulay and 16 other BIR officials was filed by a supposed whistleblower and tax informant before the Office of the Ombudsman in June.
“It appears that an investigation was already initiated by Aranas way before the Commissioner was told to take action on the letter of Danilo Lihaylihay [the complainant to the Ombudsman]. Aranas issued show-cause orders to some of the employees implicated in the said letter. Aranas confirmed this in a press interview he gave to the Inquirer. In fact, his office through the national investigation division earlier received a copy of an anonymous letter complaint for which the Commissioner was never informed. Instead, Aranas took cognizance of the complaint and immediately issued show cause orders. The Commissioner was informed and came to know about this only from media,” Dulay said in a statement in July.
As for the move of Aranas to issue show-cause orders, Dulay had said there were “several violations of civil service and BIR rules of procedure on administrative investigations in the handling of the complaint of Lihaylihay by the office of Aranas.”
The tax case involving top BIR officials and Del Monte was later investigated by the House ways and means committee.
Aranas received his law degree from Silliman University and his Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in Business Administration, from the Philippine School of Business Administration. He had worked as a legal assistant to the late Senator Raul Roco and received extensive experience in tax and corporate consultancy from the SGV & Co.
Former GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara tendered his resignation as his term ended in June last year, but he officially left the post in October 2016, GSIS records showed.
Upon Vergara’s departure, designated as officer-in-charge was Nora Malubay-Saludares, concurrent senior vice president for National Capital Region operations.
In February this year, former Health secretary as well as Civil Service Commission chair Francisco Duque III was appointed by President Duterte as GSIS chairman of the board.