CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Pampanga provincial government has filed charges of estafa through falsification of public documents and usurpation of official functions against a man caught selling fake receipts in a quarry site in Mexico town.
It was the first case filed in the two weeks that Gov. Eddie Panlilio had started a new system in the monitoring of quarry operations and collection of sand taxes, according to provincial administrator Vivian Dabu.
An inquest resolution dated July 12 from the office of the provincial prosecutor showed that the suspect, Nowie Tuazon, sold P14,000 worth of fake receipts to an informant in a quarry site in Barangay San Juan on Wednesday.
Artemio David, an employee of the office of the provincial treasurer, confirmed that the receipts did not bear the security mark and logo of original official receipts issued by the capitol.
Provincial legal officer Aiza Velez said Tuazon, a resident of Sto. Tomas town, was a former capitol employee during the Lapid administration.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Tuazon claimed he was “framed up.”
Police made the warrantless arrest, citing Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedures.
Tuazon paid a bail of P16,000 for his temporary liberty.
A capitol source said Tuazon belonged to a group connected to a former capitol official. The group is said to maintain a network of printing presses where the fake receipts have been printed since 2001.
The last arrest made on sellers of fake receipts was on April 11, 2005, also in Mexico, on the complaint of Mayor Teddy Tumang. The police arrested two men from Sto. Tomas, and another from Porac.
Dabu said the new crackdown “only showed that we are on top of the situation. We are aware of what is happening in the field. We are protecting the interest of all parties especially towns and barangays where the sand is hauled.”
The capitol has collected P10.8 million in sand taxes from July 2 to July 12, Dabu said.
The amount was almost half of the P29.1 million collected by the administration of former Gov. Mark Lapid in the whole of 2006.
“There is really gold in quarrying,” said Panlilio in a gathering with reporters in Quezon City yesterday.
“All the rumors about its lucrativeness is true,” he added.
“We earn at least P1 million per day from quarrying, something that could really help our province battle poverty and other development problems,” he added.
He said 30 percent of the quarrying fees per truck would go to the municipality, 40 percent to the barangay, and the remaining 30 percent to the provincial government.
The capitol collects P300 for every truckload of sand hauled out of the province. The receipts are issued at the provincial treasurer’s office, not anymore at quarry checkpoints located along roads.
Dabu said the crackdown against fake receipts is a continuing effort to ensure that the province and sand-rich towns and barangays get their 30-30-40 percent share from the income to fund social services.
The matter of fake quarry receipts has reached the attention of two congressional committees since 2005. A private printer and the National Printing Office confirmed this in May 2005 on the request of Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao.
Guiao had said that the practice was rampant in Porac and Floridablanca towns. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon with a report from Margaux C. Ortiz in Manila