MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno and Public Services Officer II Glenn Bañez are set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly unlawfully getting into an agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation regarding the company’s tax liabilities.
The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause against Moreno and Bañez for the filing of informations for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019 ).
The Ombudsman found that in 2013, Bañez issued a Notice of Assessment to Ajinomoto covering P2.9 million in tax deficiency, spanning 2006 to 2012. In 2014, the city entered into a Settlement Agreement with Waiver, Release and Quitclaim, accepting the company’s offer of P300,000.00 as a full settlement to its local business tax deficiency.
The agreement was done in exchange for Ajinomoto’s withdrawal of a civil case it filed before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental.
Bañez claimed, in his defense, the agreement was entered into as “there was no guarantee that it will win the case in the RTC and that the case might drag all the way to the Supreme Court.” The Ombudsman, however, gave no credence to this claim.
The Ombudsman said: “Moreno and Bañez gave Ajinomoto unwarranted benefit, advantage, or preference when they entered into the Agreement with the latter without the required authorization from the City Council.”
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 prohibits public officials from causing undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference in the course of discharging his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence.
Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 3019, meanwhile, punishes the act of a public officer entering, on behalf of the government, into a contract or transaction manifestly or grossly disadvantageous to the same. – Rappler.com