Thursday, December 28, 2006

Councilors declare BIR director persona non grata

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Ben Balce and Mark Francisco) – The city council yesterday declared the director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) here persona non grata for supposedly snubbing an official inquiry into the alleged corruption in the local offices of the bureau here.

Declared persona non grata was Mustapha Garandosa, BIR director.

Two of his subordinates, assistant director Alberto Olasiman and Cagayan de Oro revenue district officer Ester Palala suffered the same fate.

Garandosa did not show up during the city council inquiry two Mondays ago because, supposedly, he was on leave. He failed to show up again during the council session yesterday.

In a letter written on his behalf by Olasiman, Garandosa said he regretted that he could not face the city council supposedly because a BIR memorandum prevented him from doing so.

The letter cited BIR Memorandum Order no. 25-2005 issued by BIR Commissioner Jose Mario Buñag on Oct. 12, 2005, that ordered all BIR employees nationwide not to issue statements or release documents pertaining to their jobs without his direct consent.

But Councilor Jose Benaldo said the basis of Buñag’s directive was Executive Order No. 464 prohibiting government officials and employees from appearing in legislative investigations.

Two sections of the executive order had since been nullified by the Supreme Court, he said.

“The (line of) reasoning of Gandarosa is unfounded and baseless,” said Simeon Licayan, adding that the council only wanted the BIR officials to shed light on the complaints.

Licayan said Gandarosa’s failure two show up in two-occasion was enough to declare him persona non grata.

Councilors said they were not checking the records of BIR but were questioning the bureau’s officials in regard to numerous complaints on extortion.

The city council passed a resolution requesting the Office of the President, the BIR, the Ombudsman, the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) and the Revenue and Incentives Protection Service of the Department of Finance (DOF) to investigate local BIR officials.

The councilors passed a third resolution asking the BIR to recall the three officials to its central office in Manila and ground them there pending the result of an investigation.

Councilor Cesar Ian Acenas said copies of the two resolutions would be furnished to local governments throughout the countrty to warn them of the alleged illegal modus operandi of some people in the BIR.


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