Davao City

Court upholds conviction of BIR officer from Davao who asked for money, land


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Court upholds conviction of BIR officer from Davao who asked for money, land


The BIR officer gets convicted for asking for money and a piece of land in Arakan, Cotabato province

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has rejected the appeal of a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officer in Davao City, to overturn its November 6, 2023 decision which convicted him for the breach of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The court upheld its previous decision that convicted BIR officer Leo Gonzalez on two counts of solicitation and acceptance of gifts.

Gonzalez assailed the 2023 decision and filed motion for reconsideration with the 3rd Division of the Sandiganbayan, denying that he asked for cash and a parcel of land from the complainant, Federico Barco, who also served as the lone prosecution witness in the case.

The Sandiganbayan, however, stood firm in its decision, throwing out Gonzalez’s appeal. 

The BIR officer was found to have asked for P610,000 in cash and a 10-hectare portion of Barco’s 130-hectare farm in Arakan, Cotabato province in the Soccsksargen region. 

For that, he received a sentence of one year imprisonment for each count and was ordered to cover the expenses of the lawsuit.

During the trial, Barco testified that the BIR officer assured him that his daughter’s restaurant’s tax liability in Davao City would decrease from P1.3 million to only P90,000 if he agreed to the terms. Barco was instructed to pay P700,000, with only P90,000 to be acknowledged by an official receipt.

Asked about why only P90,000 would be reflected in the receipt and the fate of the remaining P610,000, Barco claimed that Gonzalez allegedly responded, “Marami kami (There are many of us).”

In his pleading, Gonzalez asserted that he was following a mission order in 2008 to investigate the Bakbak Native Chicken restaurant in Davao City, and conducting surveillance on Barco’s farm to uncover any unreported income.

Prosecutors, however, pointed out the irregularity of a BIR officer like Gonzalez conducting official duties outside BIR premises.

They also pointed out that Gonzalez personally provided Barco with a computation of Bakbak Chicken’s tax liabilities, leading Barco and his daughter to believe that a final notice of tax assessment had already been issued.

Prosecutors emphasized that the mission order failed to include Gonzalez’s name, casting doubt on the legitimacy of his actions.

In a recent ruling, penned by Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez and concurred by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Ronald Moreno, the Sandiganbayan stated, “The bare denials of petitioner Gonzalez that he neither solicited money from witness Federico Barco nor requested a 10-hectare slice out of the 130-hectare agricultural land occupied by Mr. Barco in Arakan, North Cotabato fail to persuade.”

The anti-graft court said Gonzalez’s arguments merely echoed the same points previously addressed by lower courts in Davao City, as well as by the Sandiganbayan itself. It stated that there was nothing presented that could “alter, amend, revise, or reverse” earlier rulings. – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    I appreciate the decision of the 3rd division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on the case of BIR officer Federico Barco. Good work Sandiganbayan. Could you keep it this way?

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