3 Customs officials found guilty of misreporting SALNs

MANILA, Philippines – Three Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials were found guilty of violating the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employee" for failing to report real properties and business interests in their statements of wealth, a court decision said.

In a decision promulgated on August 12, the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, Branch 3, held Pier Angeli Senangote Sealtiel, and spouses Teotimo and Vivian Sacluti liable for violating Section 8 of Republic Act 6713 after they underdeclared portions of their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).

The court established that Sealtiel, Customs Operations Officer V, failed to declare her husband's interests in 2 adjacent lots and an apartment unit in Parañaque City in her SALNs for the years 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Section 8 of R.A. 6713 states that “public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.”

She was slapped with a P50,000 fine for 10 counts of violating said law.

Meanwhile, the Sacluti couple, who are both Customs Operations Officer III, were also found guilty of violating the law. Data mined by the MeTC verified non-disclosure of their business interest in Bodgie Motor Works in their joint SALNs from 2000 to 2005.

“Be that as it may, a public official or employee must comply with what the SALN requires to be disclosed and absent any clear showing of mere oversight, inadvertence or the like will not exempt anyone from liability under the law,” the court said.

They were fined P30,000 for omitting individually their interest in the company. – Rappler.com