THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is readying its own set of suits against one of its top officials who have reportedly been identified as behind the “leaking” of government documents to a tax “informant” known for filing “baseless” plunder complaints against top government officials to include two former presidents.
In a statement, the bureau said administrative and criminal charges shall be filed against deputy commissioner Atty. Jesus Clint O. Arañas, head of the BIR’s legal group, for allegedly “leaking” BIR documents that were used to support the filing last month of a plunder complaint at the Ombudsman against Comm. Caesar R. Dulay, his chief of staff, Gaudencio Mendoza, Jr. and 16 other agency officials and personnel.
According to the BIR, the complainant, Danilo Lihaylihay, has a “long history” of filing cases not only against BIR officials, but also top government executives that include former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.
Last year, Lihaylihay also filed a certificate of candidacy to run for president but it was denied by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which declared him a “nuisance candidate.”
The BIR said the recent actions of Arañas were in violation of pertinent civil service and BIR rules and regulations and that the relationship between him and Lihaylihay is also being looked into.
“If proven that they are in a conspiracy to malign the BIR, they would be prosecuted,” agency sources said.
The plunder complaint against Dulay and his subordinates stemmed from their alleged granting of favor to Del Monte Philippines (DMP) over its tax liabilities from 2011 to 2013 that resulted in the government purportedly losing some P29.6 billion in foregone revenues.
DMP has denied the allegation of tax irregularity and said its BIR assessment as alleged in the plunder complaint is “outrageous” when compared to its earnings from 2011 to 2013.
To add credence to the complaint, Arañas has initiated his own investigation, issuing a “show cause” order to the frontline BIR personnel tagged by Lihaylihay.
He also averred that Dulay and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez have “conspired” to “clip” the power of his office to investigate BIR irregularities.
The BIR however said that even before Lihaylihay’s complaint, Arañas has been allegedly investigating DMP, which, the agency added, is also allegedly in violation of its own rules.
It added that Dulay has requested Arañas to desist from further investigating the DMP case as the BIR chief has already asked the DoF to conduct a separate probe into the issues raised by Lihaylihay.
The sources also averred that Arañas has been using his political connections, especially with the PDP-Laban, in an “unceasing effort” to remove Dulay from the BIR.
Arañas served as PDP-Laban treasurer during the 2016 elections, the sources pointed out, “and it is no secret in the BIR that he wanted to be ‘rewarded’ by being named BIR commissioner.”
“However, his ambition was frustrated after President Rodrigo Duterte instead named Dulay to the post,” the sources added.