Teves backs QC Treasurer for BIR job

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — FINANCE Secretary Margarito Teves has recommended the appointment of Quezon City Treasurer Victor Endriga as commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, a Palace source said yesterday.

Teves made the recommendation even as the outgoing commissioner, Jose Mario Buñag, accused the finance chief of bringing about a collection shortfall this first quarter by asking big taxpayers to pay their liabilities in advance during the last quarter of 2006.

Buñag said Teves was “over-fixated with meeting his unreasonable targets just to look good” at the expense of the heads of the revenue-generating agencies under the finance department.

But Teves yesterday brushed these accusations aside, saying the advanced payments accounted for only a small portion of the collection shortfall this quarter.

A highly placed source at the Palace said Teves had already chosen Endriga and felt he could do better at meeting collection targets.

Endriga told Standard Today he was ready to serve if appointed to the post.

“If I’m chosen, I’ll do my best but for now my boss remains [Quezon City] Mayor [Feliciano] Belmonte,” he said.

But he suggested that the tax bureau could improve collections by coordinating more closely with local government treasurers.

Endriga, 63, with a doctorate in fiscal management, was the recipient of the 2007 Dove of Peace Awards for the reforms he instituted in the treasury office of Quezon City.

Before his appointment in Quezon City, he first served as city treasurer in Pasig City for 10 years, during which he was able to increase the annual city income to P2.2 billion in 2001 from only P154 million in 1991.

Endriga, a Harvard fellow in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, is the son of former Finance Undersecretary Mamerto Endriga.

Buñag’s replacement was part of an ongoing revamp in the executive department aimed at revitalizing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s social and economic reform program.

Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales yesterday denied he had submitted his resignation as part of this drive.

“Please be informed that such a letter is fake, as Commissioner Morales has not submitted a courtesy resignation to President Arroyo,” said Verne Enciso, the commissioner’s executive assistant. Enciso said the letter, circulated to journalists, was part of a black propaganda effort against his boss.

Speculation continued over the fate of other Cabinet officials.

Sources said that outgoing Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, and former National Police Chiefs Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Arturo Lomibao were being considered as replacements for Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

The sources added that Puno’s job was at risk after he failed to deliver results in the administration’s campaign to amend the Constitution last year.

Sources also said Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla would be reassigned to head the National Power Corp.