CONCERNED officials and employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the country’s biggest revenue agency, expressed their apprehension that President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against graft and corruption might fail with the return to the BIR main office of a middle-level official previously “exiled” to a remote province by then Comm. Kim Henares.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for the moment, the sources said they were “dismayed” that the official, known in the ranks of businessmen as the agency’s “Holdup King” has been returned to the BIR main office in Quezon City and was even given a more “sensitive position” by its current leadership headed by Comm. Caesar Dulay.
“We would like to believe that Pres. Duterte and Comm. Dulay were not aware of the bad record of this official who has given our agency a really bad name back then. Maybe, they were given the ‘run around’ of those below them.
“But it would be to our agency’s best interest if this official is immediately removed from his current post and investigated,” the sources said.
They noted that during Henares’ tenure, she received a lot of complaints against the erring official for alleged “shameless extortion” of businessmen in settling their tax obligations that earned for him the moniker, “Holdup King.” The complaints prompted Henares to transfer the official to a remote province in Luzon.
“But somehow, he has managed to ‘ingratiate’ himself into the good graces of one of the officials newly-appointed by President Duterte and now he is back at our main office to sully once again the BIR’s name,” the sources lamented.
Outside of the agency, one alleged “padrino” of the controversial official is said to be connected with big Japanese business firms in the Philippines and who always allegedly boast of his “closeness” to the leadership of President Duterte’s party, the PDP-Laban.
On more than one occasion, the businessman was allegedly heard claiming closeness to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III.
“While we fully support the reform efforts of the Duterte administration, it is doomed to fail if this entails the ‘recycling’ of officials known for their corrupt ways and extortion activities,” the sources said, referring to the recent “major revamp” at the BIR ordered by Dulay.
The revamp was partly due to the unending complaints of graft and corruption at the BIR coming from the ranks of businessmen and which reportedly reached the attention of Duterte.