"x x x.
For the past six months, a team of PCIJ researchers led by PCIJ contributor Tess Bacalla, has been doing a lifestyle check on BIR personnel. The research yielded a wealth of information on the grand houses and expensive vehicles of BIR officials and employees who earn only a modest income. We found, from a check of 25 officials at various levels, that many of them cannot explain how they acquired their assets, including shares in businesses and companies.
One BIR regional director, for example, lives in a big house in posh Ayala Alabang, yet he earns less than P300,000 a year. Parked in his garage on the day PCIJ visited were a Ford Expedition, a Toyota Land Cruiser and a brand new BMW. A Revenue District Officer whose annual salary is P270,000 has two weekend houses in Calamba and lives during the week in a Greenhills condominium.
We found that BIR postings are so lucrative that many BIR personnel petition the Civil Service Commission to change their birth records so they can advance their dates of birth and delay their retirement. We found 24 such applications for a change in birth records from 1989 to the first quarter of 2001 alone.
The three-part series concludes by looking at the breakdown in the system of checks and balances in the BIR and the lack of transparency, oversight and accountability that contribute to making the bureau one of the most corrupt government agencies."