Ombud junks admin rap against Capitol official

THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has cleared a Capitol official of allegations that she illegally canceled tax declarations in favor of other land owners in 2014.

Graft investigation and prosecution officer Vivien Leigh Santiago-Lumangtad dismissed for lack of evidence the administrative charges for neglect of duty against Assistant Provincial Assessor Mariflor Vero.

“Since the transfer of the property did not involve a sale barter or exchange, respondent is not bound to observe the procedure laid down,” said Lumangtad in her four-page decision.

The case stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by the ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office, which accused Vero of neglect of duty.

The anti-graft office’s probe bureau said the Provincial Government levied and sold the properties of Jose Sanico and his wife Neneta to Jennifer Tenio, who was the highest bidder.

But Tenio later learned that the tax declarations of the property she bought were canceled and new ones were issued under the name of the Sanico couple’s children.

The ombudsman’s probe bureau said that Vero approved the new tax declarations merely based on the extrajudicial settlement executed by the heirs.

Pursuant to Administrative Order 186 signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, all city assessors, municipal assessors and provincial assessors are directed to annotate in all tax declarations the serial number of the certificate authorizing registration issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The ombudsman said that Vero canceled Sanicos’ tax declarations and issued the new ones under the couple children’s name without the required BIR’s certificate.

The BIR reportedly did not issue the certificate because the taxes on the estate were not paid.

Replying to the charges, Vero said she was unaware of the BIR certification relative to the annotation of tax declarations.

Vero cited the Local Government Code, the Citizen’s Charter and directives from Capitol, Bureau of Local Government Finance and the Local Assessment Operation Office on her action in approving the cancellation of the tax declarations.

In the resolution, graft investigator Lumangtad said that the complaint ought to be dismissed for lack of evidence.

The BIR’s certification applies only to real properties covered with transfer certificate of transfer.

The transfer did not involve a sale, barter or exchange, thus, the requirement of a certificate authorizing registration from BIR does not apply.

“Respondent (Vero) could not be held liable for neglect of duty when she failed to annotate the certificate authorizing registration in the new tax declarations because such is a requirement only in transfer of conveyance arising from sale or barter,” said Lumangtad.

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