Cagayan de Oro City mayor rapped with graft due to unlawful tax settlement

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Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has found probable cause for the filing of charges for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno and Public Services Officer II Glenn Bañez.

Moreno and Bañez are facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for unlawfully entering into an agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (Ajinomoto) involving the settlement of the company’s tax liabilities.

The Ombudsman found that in 2013, Bañez issued a Notice of Assessment to Ajinomoto covering its 2006 to 2012 tax deficiency of PHP2.9 million.

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The following year or in 2014, the city entered into a Settlement Agreement with Waiver, Release and Quitclaim accepting the company’s offer of PHP300,000 as full settlement of its local business tax deficiency.

The agreement was entered into in exchange for Ajinomoto’s withdrawal of the civil case it filed before the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

As defense, Bañez claimed that the agreement was entered into since “there was no guarantee that it will win the case in the RTC and that the case might drag all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Ombudsman Morales gave no credence to this claim, saying that “Moreno and Bañez gave Ajinomoto unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference when they entered into the Agreement with the latter without the required authorization from the City Council.” (PNA)
SCS/PTR/EDS

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