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John Hay exec sued for fund misuse

/ 11:49 PM January 22, 2012

BAGUIO CITY—Employees of the John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC) sued their president at the Ombudsman last week for allegedly misusing the funds of the state-run firm managing Camp John Hay.

In their complaint, a copy of which was sent to President Aquino, the JHMC employees assigned to the firm’s finance, supply, marketing and operations departments said JHMC president Jamie Eloise Agbayani had used government funds to pay for her personal items, her gasoline consumption and meals consumed by family members and friends, some of whom she later hired as consultants.

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In a statement sent by JHMC to the Inquirer on Sunday, JHMC director Ceasar Oracion said these expenses were above board and Agbayani was entitled to them as company president.

Agbayani has yet to respond to the complaint because there was no work in government offices due to the long weekend, said Melody Valeros-Brawner, her spokesperson.

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Oracion, a lawyer, said JHMC suspects that a government official seeking to replace Agbayani had orchestrated the charges while both JHMC and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) are focused on a debt standoff with a firm developing Camp John Hay.

JHMC, a BCDA subsidiary, oversees developments at Camp John Hay.

“What they allege as ‘personal expenses’ such as toothpaste, brushes, mouthwash, shampoo [and] conditioner are common expenses if you have official guests staying at JHMC cottages,” Oracion said.

“On the issue of gasoline expenses, Agbayani travels to Manila to report regularly to the BCDA head office located in Taguig since JHMC is a subsidiary of BCDA. Also, just like the other directors, she is entitled to gasoline allowance whether she uses the company [vehicle] or [her] private car,” he said.

Nelson Gayo, the JHMC employees’ lawyer, said the documents gathered by his clients “showed a clear case of misappropriation and dishonesty [which would sustain a] prima facie case” against Agbayani.

The employees also implicated JHMC vice president Mita Angela Dimalanta in the complaint.

The 24-page complaint was sent to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday. A separate letter, dated January 16, was sent to President Aquino and was received by the Presidential Management Staff on Friday.

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The letter to Aquino said Agbayani allegedly deviated from Aquino’s policy of “daang matuwid.”

The employees said Agbayani interfered with supply contract awards and had hired friends from the school where she finished high school.

Among the friends she hired as consultant was a former JHMC official. The employees said the official could not be rehired because the official had not been cleared of obligations to the company.

But Oracion said: “As head of the organization, the [JHMC] president has the prerogative to hire consultants.”—Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: fund misuse, Government offices and Agencies, John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC), Ombudsman, Philippines
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