‘Learn from lesson from three sacked BIR officials’

Cebu Daily News
Last updated 02:49pm (Mla time) 07/19/2007

CEBU, Philippines—“I feel sorry for them.”


This was the reaction of resort owner Leonila Montero of Panglao, Bohol upon hearing the dismissal of three officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for extorting P60,000 from her in 2005.


But Montero, owner of Alona Tropical Tourist Inn and Beach Resort in Panglao, Bohol, said the officials deserved the penalty meted against him by Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez.


The three sacked by Gutierrez on Tuesday were Bonifacio Ybañez, division chief; Edgar Palgan, revenue officer I; and Francis Mercado, intelligence officer III. They were all detailed at the Special Investigation Division of BIR Region No. 13 in Cebu City.


Of the three, only Ybañez remained at the BIR office. Palgan died of a stroke in July 2006 while Mercado availed of early retirement last December 2006, said Judith Mondigo, BIR Revenue 13 information officer.


Mondigo said Palgan’s relatives did not receive his death benefits due to the pending administrative case that stemmed from Montero’s complaint. But with the Ombudsman’s order, his family could no longer claim the benefits.


Mercado also had yet to get his retirement benefits due the pending administrative case. Dismissal from service means forfeiture of all their benefits.


Ybañez did not report for work yesterday at the legal division where he was transferred after the controversy broke out last year.


Montero, a former municipal councilor of Panglao in Bohol, said, Palgan who was from Bohol, approached her a week before he died and apologized.


“I was telling him that is the very important point in life nga makakita ta sa sayop nga atong nahimo (that we would be able to see the wrong that we had done),” she said.


Montero said the dismissal of the three BIR officials must serve as a lesson to government officials not to abuse their positions as well as for the public to file a case against those officials who would try to take advantage.


“It was not a personal act, and I hope that it will serve them a lesson. This is for all of us,” she said.


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