Clarify SALNs issues first before filing case: SC nixes DOF criminal raps versus customs officer
The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the petition of the Department of Finance (DOF) Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) seeking the indictment of a customs operation officer whose Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) had discrepancies, saying she should have been given the chance to correct the defects first.
In a recent 14-page decision, the SC 3rd Division affirmed the Ombudsman’s December 28, 2012 resolution dismissing the DOF-RIPS’ falsification and perjury complaint againsst Edita Cruz Yambao for lack of probable cause.
The SC agreed with the Ombudsman that Yambao was not given the chance to address the issues with her SALNs before the DOF-RIPS filed its complaint.
Even if her or her husband’s connection to Arnold L. Cruz Customs Brokerage was too ambiguous or was a cause for concern, the SC noted that she should have been allowed to clarify the matter, since she did not hide the connection.
“The purpose of requiring public officials to submit statements of assets, liabilities and net worth is to defeat corruption. Providing an opportunity to correct a defect before being sanctioned is aligned with this purpose,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
The SC also said Yambao refuted the DOF-RIPS’ claim that she failed to file her SALNs for 2000 and 2003 by showing her copies which were stamped as received by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
As for the issue of allegedly disproportionate wealth, the SC said Yambao disproved the DOF-RIPS’ claim that she was the sole breadwinner in her family. Yambao submitted affidavits from her husband’s employer to confirm that he was an income earner too.