2 QC dads tell Ombudsman: No such thing as ghostsBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Quezon City councilors Roderick Paulate and Francisco Calalay Jr. Monday denied that they had ghost workers in their employ as they asked the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss the graft and malversation charges filed against them by its field investigation office.
In their counter-affidavits, the councilors also claimed that the complaints against them were malicious, politically motivated and aimed at derailing their campaign for next year’s elections, especially since they both intend to seek higher office.
The two explained that they merely approved the casual employees their staff had endorsed to them. They also left it to their staff to monitor the attendance of these employees due to their busy schedule, they added.
Both also said that certifications regarding the attendance and services rendered by these workers were regularly submitted to their offices although they were not personally involved in the processing and payment of salaries.
They likewise noted that there was no proof that the casual employees did not receive the funds the Quezon City government had released for their salaries.
Earlier, Paulate and Calalay were ordered suspended for six months without pay after graft investigators found out that they hired around 60 ghost employees.
Aside from graft and malversation of public funds charges, administrative cases were also filed against the two officials for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and falsification of official documents.
Also ordered suspended and named in the complaints were the councilors’ liaison officers, Flordeliza Alvarez and Vicente Bajamunde.
In a fact-finding probe which acted on a complaint from Jimmy Lee Davis, the Field
Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman discovered that some of the personnel identified in job orders from the offices of Paulate and Calalay were fictitious.
Davis, whom the statement simply described as a “whistle-blower” and “QC insider,” was assisted by former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. in the pursuing the complaint.
The FIO alleged that from July to November 2010, Paulate maintained 30 ghost employees while Calalay had 29 ghost employees from January to November 2010.