Former finance dep’t officials convicted of graft

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Former finance dep’t officials convicted of graft
The anti-graft court says the finance officials illegally issued tax credit certificates to JK Apparel and United Apparel

MANILA, Philippines – Five former officials of the Department of Finance and a business executive were convicted for multiple counts of graft by the Sandiganbayan First Division, sentencing them to various number of years in prison.

The anti-graft court found them guilty of illegally issuing of tax credit certificates to unqualified firms in 1997 and 1998.

Sentence to 42 years behind bars were:

  • Uldarico Andutan – deputy executive director, DOF-One Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center 
  • Miriam T. Tasarra – Garment Division reviewer
  • Kuldip Singh – private defendant, an executive of JK Apparel Manufacturing Incorporated and United Apparel

They were also ordered to reimburse the Bureau of Treasury of P9,699,639 – the amount defrauded from the government as a result of the unlawfully issued tax credit certificates.

Handed 12-year jail terms, meanwhile, were the following One Stop Shop tax specialists:

  • Lucila Cueto
  • Galdys Olaño
  • Irene Magbojos

There were each found guilty of two counts of graft.

The graft court gave weight to the testimony of the prosecution’s witness, who said the tax credit certificates were granted to the garment firm even though it only gave photocopies of the required papers. The defense claimed the original documents were returned to the applicants after the issuance of the tax certificates.

In its decision, the court said there was no basis for the tax credit certificate grants since the firm did not observe the rules, which required a complete submission of original documents, including bank credit memoranda, delivery receipts, and sales invoices.

The court declared: “By granting J.K. Apparel and United Apparel tax credits when none should have been given, the conspirators unjustifiably reduced the government coffer…. Thus, undue injury was caused to the government in the amount indicated in the tax credit certificates issued without valid basis.”


Finance Department Undersecretary Antonio Belicena, the principal accused in these cases, was found to be suffering from dementia due to old age in March 2014, based on an evaluation by the National Center for Mental Health.

The court ordered the cases against him archived for possible revival should his condition improve. –

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