Balamban council wants Ombud to investigate town assessor and her staff

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

THE BALAMBAN Municipal Council will endorse all written complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman and Civil Service Commission in the alleged property sales tax scam involving the town’s assessor and two of her staff.

This was one of the five recommendations in the report of the committee on laws and ordinances headed by lawyer John Ismael Borgonia. It was passed in mass motion during their regular session yesterday afternoon.

He said he was aware that the complainants wanted the council to guarantee that the money they paid to former Municipal Assessor Tita Yray and her two staff, Sharee Melgar and Lucille Agua, will be returned to them. But he said the council can’t force them.


He said as local legislators, they can only investigate “in aid of legislation.”
The two-page report also said they will assist the complainants in verifying their record of payment at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

As one of the corrective measures, they have requested BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares to accredit the banks that are operating in Balamban.

This way, taxpayers will not have to travel to BIR–North in Mandaue City for payment of capital gains and other taxes. Their request was in a separate resolution, which was also approved yesterday.

The council said it was public knowledge that there was a land tax scam in their town after the municipal assessor and her two staff facilitated the payment supposedly to BIR of more than 300 lot owners.

The amount involved was estimated to be P4 million since 2009, the same year the BIR ordered their collecting agents in Balamban not to receive tax payments.

Borgonia said that as of yesterday, they have not updated the list of complainants.

But he said he was sure the number will increase.

The Office of the Mayor has already received nine written complaints. But there were only 12 complainants, so far, who verified their transactions at the BIR.

Another resolution was also approved yesterday, asking Henares to waive the penalties
due to the complainants because of the Balamban land tax scam.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2011.

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