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Ex-BOC staff facing jail time for falsifying public documents

  • A former Bureau of Customs employee was found guilty of 11 counts of falsifying public documents
  • The case stemmed from false declarations and omissions made in her annual statements of assets, liabilities and net worth
  • Former BOC administrative aide Ester Grafil Sese was sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of six months and one day of prision correccional as minimum, to eight years and one day of prison mayor as maximum, for each of the 11 counts of falsification
  • Sese was also ordered to pay a fine of P10,000 for each of the 11 counts of falsification

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) found a former Bureau of Customs (BOC) employee guilty of 11 counts of falsifying public documents stemming from false declarations and omissions in her annual statements of assets, liabilities and networth (SALNs).

Former BOC administrative aide Ester Grafil Sese was sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of six months and day of prision correccional as minimum, to eight years and one day of prison mayor as maximum, for each of the 11 counts of falsification, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement.

In its ruling issued on March 24, 2021, the RTC also ordered Sese to pay a fine of P10,000 for each of the 11 counts of falsification.

“It is settled that a SALN is a public document. It bears stressing that the requirement of filing SALN is enshrined in no less than the 1987 Constitution in order to promote transparency in the civil service, and operates as a deterrent against officials bent on enriching themselves through unlawful means,” the court said in rendering its guilty verdict against Sese.

The criminal cases against Sese were based on a complaint filed by the DOF’s Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) with the Office of the Ombudsman. RIPS is the anti-corruption arm of the DOF.

Sese, who started in the BOC as a utility worker, was charged with the following:

  • Falsely declaring in her 2000 to 2002 SALN her family’s Mitsubishi Lancer as a liability in the amount of P150,000 when it was an asset bought in 1997
  • Falsely declaring in her 2002 to 2007 SALN a much lower acquisition cost of P150,000 for the said Mitsubishi Lancer against its acquisition cost of P264,839
  • Omitting to declare in her 2002 SALN her family’s residential house and lot located in Paranaque City purchased in February 2002
  • Omitting to declare in her 2004 SALN her family’s Isuzu Elf Aluminum Van purchased on 16 August 2004
  • Omitting to declare in her 2004 to 2007 SALN her family’s Honda Wave Motorcycle purchased on 6 April 2004
  • Omitting to declare in her 2010 SALN her family’s Toyota Hilux acquired on 14 January 2010
  • Omitting to declare in her 2012 to 2013 SALN her family’s firearms described as Pistol Girsan Caliber 45 and Pistol Coarm Caliber .45

Sese was sentenced by the court for violating Article 171, Paragraph 4 of Revised Penal Code.

Her defense relied solely on the testimony of her husband, Rufo Sese, and evidence he presented as well as claims they filled up her SALNs based on good faith.

Sese claimed, among others, that she had no personal knowledge of the existence of some of the properties omitted in her SALNs, that the Toyota Hilux was listed as a liability because it was not yet completely paid, and that the motorcycle was supposedly not hers but held in trust for a brother-in-law.

The court pointed out her claims were implausible, contradictory to each other and cannot be relied upon.

Stemming from a RIPS case, the Office of the Ombudsman also earlier dismissed from service a BOC employee found guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty for amassing P6.2 million worth of unexplained wealth.

In another case, the Court of Appeals affirmed with finality a ruling by the Ombudsman that found another BOC employee guilty of simple dishonesty for misrepresenting an entry in his Personal Data Sheet.

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