By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the dismissal of a city treasurer for concealing his assets and various properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
The CA, in a July 31 ruling, upheld a 2006 decision made by the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing from public service Liberato Carabeo, officer-in-charge (OIC) of Parañaque City, for “dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
The Ombudsman’s decision stemmed from a case filed by the Department of Finance-Revenue Integrity Protection Service (DOF-RIPS) on July 8, 2005.
“Having started as a revenue collection clerk in 1981, Carabeo earned an annual gross salary of P8,400 before being designated as OIC of the Parañaque City Treasurer’s Office, where he received an annual gross salary of P291,036,” RIPS said in a statement.
Based on RIPS investigation, Carabeo’s net worth drastically increased from 1981 to 2004 to P7.5 million from P115,975 shown by a steady accumulation of various properties such as real estate, vehicles and club shares.
“In the last nine years, Carabeo and his wife purchased residential lots: three parcels of land in Laguna, a 1,000-square-meter in Tagaytay City and 1,500-sqm in Cavite City. As of July 4, 2004, records from the Land Transportation Office-Information Technology database disclosed that Carabeo and his wife owned numerous vehicles, which he also failed to disclose in his SALN: a 2000-model Ford F-150 Flareside, a 2001 Chevrolet Cassia, a Mitsubishi Lancer, a 2000 Honda CRV, two 2000 Honda City, and a Nissan Sentra,” RIPS said in its complaint.
The couple also purchased P640,000 worth of club shares in cash at the Palms Country Club in Ayala, Alabang, RIPS said.
Records from the Bureau of Immigration also showed that Carabeo traveled abroad at least 15 times from 1996 to 2004, which RIPS said was well beyond his means and without proper authority from the Bureau of Local Government Finance as required by law.
Carabeo questioned the validity of the OMB’s findings, stating there was no intention to conceal his properties.
According to the RIPS statement, he filed a special civil action for certiorari against then Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and then finance secretary Margarito Teves, as well as the members of the DOF-RIPS.
However, the CA “found Carabeo’s contentions without merit” and dismissed the petitions.