Eastern Samar gov charged with graft for withholding pay of 11 employees

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MANILA, Philippines — Eastern Samar Gov. Conrado Basada Nicart Jr. was charged on Tuesday with graft and violation of the Civil Service rules at the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly withholding the salaries and benefits of 11 provincial government employees despite an order from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to pay them.

In their complaint, the employees said Nicart’s refusal to pay their salaries and benefits since June 2010 constituted oppression, gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct.

They said the governor also violated a CSC order and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“On several occasions, we requested and even begged for payment of our salaries, emoluments and all other benefits due us, but respondent simply refused and failed to do so,” read the complaint.

The complainants said they had to resort to acquiring loans at high interest rates because of the delay in their salaries.

“It works at slowly asphyxiating us and our families,” they said.

The complainants said they had been religiously reporting for work and their salaries had been allocated in the province’s 2010 and 2011 budgets.

They said Nicart “either reverted or realigned” the funds and “played a deaf ear” to their plea to be paid.

The employees asked the Ombudsman to immediately suspend Nicart to prevent him from using his power and position to harass them.

The complainants are Rolando Apita, Christine T. Bagas, Jihan Baldelobar, Antonette Balena, Reynaldo Busa, Marichu Catudio, Jerry Joseph Mengote, Joseph B. Erroba, Vivian Lavado, Francisco Garol and Michael Lovejoy Mondonedo.

They had been appointed to their posts in the provincial government by Rep. Ben Evardone, former governor and political rival of Nicart.

Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission upheld their appointments by Evardone on Oct. 17, 2011.  The CSC order, they said, was final and executory.

Instead of heeding the order, however, the complainants said Nicart sought to block its implementation.

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