Vice Mayor Moreno: Payroll wiped out with SnopakeBy Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The payrolls for casual and contractual employees of the Manila City Council were wiped out—with a mere dab of correction fluid.
This was according to Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who testified on Tuesday in a court hearing on the petition by nonregular employees seeking the release of their salaries withheld since April.
More than 1,000 casual and contractual employees under the city council and the Office of the Vice Mayor, who were hired from January and were supposed to work till end of this year, have remained unpaid since April after Mayor Alfredo Lim ordered the reduction of nonregular city hall workers by 30 percent in March.
Lim then maintained that the layoffs were prompted by a Commission on Audit order asking city hall to act on the P1.1-billion overpayment of personnel in 2011.
But according to Domagoso, he and committee on appropriations chair Bernie Ang agreed in an April 23 meeting that the layoffs would be postponed until the council passes an ordinance amending the city budget to include cost-cutting measures.
He said also present in that meeting were the city treasurer and budget officer, Lim’s chief of staff and his secretary. Domagoso recalled that he even met Lim on the way out of the meeting, and that the latter amiably told him “OK na ’yan,” referring to the agreement.
The vice mayor said Rafaelito Garayblas, the secretary to the mayor, also assured him later that day that the payrolls of the council employees were already being processed.
But the following day, Domagoso said, he found out that the signatures of the city accountant and the budget officer on the payroll for the affected council employees were already erased using correction fluid.
“Naka-Snopake na po,” Domagoso told Judge Daniel Villanueva of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 49. Snopake is a brand of correction fluid.
Villanueva ordered the two parties to submit their respective position papers on the matter, saying the court could reach decision by the end of the month.
Domagoso has cited the payroll issue as a reason why he and his allies left Lim for the camp of former President Joseph Estrada, Lim’s rival in the 2013 elections.
In an interview, council secretary Luch Gempis recalled that when the council and the Office of the Vice Mayor submitted the payrolls of their nonregular staff following the April 23 meeting, the city treasurer clerks refused to process the papers “for no clear reason.”
City treasurer Marissa de Guzman earlier said her staff refused to process the payrolls following Lim’s executive order. City legal officer Renato de la Cruz also said his office was now waiting for the council to submit a payroll with reduced employees.
Meanwhile, at least nine councilors have submitted their respective reduced payrolls as of last week. Their retained casuals and contractuals have also received their salaries.