MANILA - Accumulating an unexplained wealth of P9.362 million over a period of 10 years led to the dismissal of Resorts Word Manila attacker Jessie Carlos as tax specialist 2 of the Department of Finance (DOF), according to a 2015 Court of Appeals (CA) decision.
Carlos was initially dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2012 for grave misconduct and gross negligence after a complaint against him based on his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN), was filed by the DOF in 2011.
Carlos then appealed the Ombudsman ruling before the CA.
In the CA decision, it was also mentioned that the wife of Carlos had a "gun store business" that was among the properties they failed to declare in his SALN.
The CA noted that Carlos and his wife failed to show that their "combined incomes were sufficient for them to acquire said properties and operate a gun store business".
In the counter-affidavit submitted by Carlos, he supposedly said his wife owned Armset Trading.
"He likewise said he did not declare his wife's business, Armset Trading, because it is still not operating," the CA mentioned in its ruling.
Carlos, armed with a long firearm and a container of gasoline, opened fire and torched casino tables and other furniture at Resorts World Manila last Friday.
The incident led to the death of 38 people, including Carlos who supposedly shot himself inside a hotel room in the entertainment complex.
According to the DOF, Carlos started out as a contractual tax specialist at the One-Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center in 2000.
He had an annual gross salary of P154,004 in that year and was appointed in a permanent position as tax specialist 1 in 2005 with an annual gross income of P126,420. In 2011, his annual salary was P210,480, records show.
After an investigation by the DOF on his SALN, Carlos was charged with non-disclosure of a house and lot in Tondo, Manila; a Toyota Innova; and his wife's "business interest in Armset Trading."
The DOF also noted "dubious loans" from 2008 to 2010 which was apparently used "to cover up the gains in his assets".
Among his loans were P4,000,000 in 2008 and P5,000,000 in 2010; auto loan of P973,000 for a Toyota Innova and P1,600,000 for a Hyundai Starex Van; credit card debts from P200,000 in 2006 to P600,000 in the succeeding years.
Also noted was his unexplained wealth which was also apparently used to cover up the gains in his assets, among them: a P3,000,000 house and lot in Sta. Cruz, Manila purchased in 2008; two farm lots in Tanauan City, Batangas worth P4,000,000 purchased in 2010.
Carlos submitted a counter-affidavit and claimed "good faith" in filling out the details in his SALN's and that he was never given the chance to rectify the alleged omissions or mistakes.
He reasoned out that the Toyota Innova was declared in his 2007 SALN after completing the payments from the time he purchased the vehicle in 2003 on an installment basis.
He also said he did not declare his wife's business because it was not yet operating at the time.
In a table presented by the Ombudsman, the assets of Carlos in 2000, which amounted to P908,000, jumped by P9,362,000 to P10,270,000 in 2010.
His liabilities, however, also increased by P7,540,000 from P45,000 in 2000 to P7,585,000 in 2010.
His net worth, when computed from his assets and liabilities, only increased by P1,822,000, from P863,000 in 2000 to P2,865,000 in 2010.
The Ombudsman noted that Carlos was unable to explain the "huge disparity between his income from 2000 to 2010 and his net worth for the same period, and thus, considered his accumulated wealth as ill-gotten."
In spite of his appeal before the CA to reverse the dismissal order of the Ombudsman, the CA decided to affirm the imposed penalty of dismissal from the DOF, as well as the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.
The petition of Carlos however was partially granted, as the CA reversed the Ombudsman decision finding him guilty of grave misconduct and gross negligence.
The CA found it more appropriate to declare Carlos guilty of dishonesty, which resulted to the same penalties imposed by the Ombudsman.