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Plunder raps file vs Radaza couple; P500 million ‘lost’ in ghost payrolls

THE new complaint of plunder filed yesterday by Efrain Pelaez Jr. against the Radazas of Lapu-Lapu city alleges that ghost employees have been paid in the city government since 2001.

About P500 million in government funds were lost due to “ghost payrolls and employees,” he alleged.

Pelaez filed a similar complaint in 2007 with the Visayas Ombudsman’s Office. This this time he submitted as evidence to boost his case a report from the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory that shows that signatures of employees on government payrolls were executed by only a few persons.

“We have strengthened the case. Now, we have more affidavits and evidence,” said Pelaez, who filed the case with lawyer Rudy Taneo.

He accused Rep. Arturo Radaza and his wife Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and barangay captains of Lapu-Lapu city of misspending public funds.

Mayor Radaza denied the allegations, and warned Pelaez he may go “crazy”.

“With all the projects that my administration have implemented, it is a clear proof that we have used City Hall funds judiciiously considering that we only have a little over a billion pesos in the annual budget,” she said.

She said that as a recipient of the Seal of Good House Keeping from the Department of Interior and Local Government, Lapu-Lapu city has no adverse findings from the Commission on Audit.

“My advice to you (Pelaez) is to slow down or you may go crazy. The election is already on Monday.”

Plunder is the crime of a public officer who amasses ill-gotten wealth through criminal acts in the amount of P50 million or more. The penalty is life imprisonment or death.

Lapu-Lapu City has an annual outlay of P30 million to P40 million for its Clean and Green Project and pays monthly honoraria to barangay employees called “enumerators.”

Pelaez said employees were to be paid P1,500 a month through the barangay captains while the enumerators would earn P3,000 but the amount was skimmed, with employees receiving only P500 and made to sign payrolls to show they received the full amount.

The “enumerators” got only P1,000 and were made to sign receipt for the full P3,000.

Pelaez cited the case of Eutiquia Ompad whose name was on the payroll from April to December 2005 although she died that April./reporter ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL

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