DOF goes after corrupt public officials, private lobbyists
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Sunday said erring revenue officers in agencies overseen by the DOF have been punished in line with the government’s anti-corruption fight.
These included the country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies—the bureaus of Customs (BOC) and of Internal Revenue (BIR)—which President Duterte himself had repeatedly bewailed for long-standing corruption in their ranks.
The head of the Duterte administration’s economic team also disclosed they were going after private lobbyists who wielded influence over government decision-making to push their own interests to the detriment of the public good.
In a broadcasted message, Dominguez noted that the DOF since 2003 has been running after allegedly corrupt personnel through its Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), which investigated and conducted lifestyle checks on suspected wrongdoers.
“Since President Duterte took office in 2016, RIPS initiated investigations against 403 officials and employees of the DOF and its attached agencies. Administrative and/or criminal cases have been filed against 60 errant public officers,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez added that 14 others were dismissed from service after RIPS investigation showed they were corrupt.
Last week, the DOF also launched the “Sumbong Website” on its official webpage to enjoin citizens to report “cases of possible anomalies in the department and all the agencies it supervises,” according to Dominguez.
“Informants may submit evidence showing properties or lifestyles grossly disproportional to the pay levels of our employees,” he said.
Dominguez also said the DOF was “at the forefront in combating one of the worst forms of corruption called ‘state capture.’”
“Capturers of the state operate discreetly, in order to lull the ordinary Filipino into thinking that whatever project they are pushing for will ultimately redound to the benefit of the public. These capturers are enterprising private individuals who use every resource at their disposal, including the media and political figures. They employ a carrot-and-stick approach to influence politicians. Those who willingly accept grease money are paid off while those who refuse are threatened with litigation. These grafters and influence peddlers play the long-game nurturing a symbiotic relationship with public officers complicit with the capturers and bartering continued political support from powerful individuals. These are done in exchange for wielding government power for a period to last beyond one presidential term,” Dominguez explained.
“In most instances, these private individuals infiltrate the government bureaucracy through their chosen appointees to regulatory bodies and implementing agencies. To solidify control over their respective private interests, these capturers position their alter egos in key agencies, leading to lopsided contracts and disadvantageous transactions all to the prejudice of the Filipino people,” the Finance chief said.
“We have extensively shared our knowledge on [state capture] with the regulators and the key government officials. This will help the government identify such manipulative schemes perpetuated by private individuals and stop them in their tracks,” he added.
Dominguez also batted for further reduction of government red tape, as he said tedious processes and procedures led to some corrupt practices.
“We support the simplification of procedures to enhance transparency. We are accelerating the adoption of digital technologies to reduce the margin of discretion that is ultimately the source of graft in the bureaucracy,” Dominguez said.
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