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‘Ghost’ workers haunt Isko Moreno

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 12:01 AM March 07, 2016

A MANILA lawyer and social justice advocate on Sunday called on the Office of the Ombudsman to initiate cases based on the Commission on Audit’s (COA) findings in 2012 that up to 623 suspected “ghost” employees were employed in the office of Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s office.

Vladimir Cabigao said that if COA’s findings were true, the Manila City Hall would be losing as much as P84 million a year in salaries alone to the “ghost” consultants and researchers allegedly employed by Domagoso who is running for a Senate seat.

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“The Ombudsman should wrap up its investigation soon, file the case, and preventively suspend those accountable, especially with reports coming out in 2013 that Manila was virtually bankrupt, which is also the subject of a separate COA probe. We should stop this plunder of the city’s funds once and for all,” Cabigao told the Inquirer in an interview.

Last Dec. 14, Cabigao filed a motion asking Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to resolve the administrative complaints of dishonesty, misconduct in office and fraud against the public treasury that he filed against Domagoso in September 2012.

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“If this administrative complaint would be simply brushed aside, the campaign on “daang matuwid” (straight path) of the government would be a meaningless rhetoric and would betray public accountability as stated in the Constitution,” he said in his petition.

Reached for comment, Domagoso said that his opponents were trying to revive an old issue for political purposes. “The cases filed by Cabigao are rehashed and politically motivated. The [original] case was dismissed by the Ombudsman three years ago and I have the documents to prove it,” he told the Inquirer.

He was referring to the case separately filed in 2012 by the city’s former legal officer who claimed he was able to verify at least one supposed employee of the vice mayor who died in 2008; while seven others, in their sworn statements, maintained that they were never employed by Domagoso. Based on the complaint, the vice mayor had up to 623 ghost employees each earning P12,000 monthly.

However, Cabigao said he checked with the Ombudsman and verified that the case he filed was still under investigation.

“I have not yet received any notice [of dismissal], so I’m surprised that he’s claiming that it has been dismissed,” he said.

In his September 2012 complaint-affidavit, Cabigao said the Ombudsman should initiate its own investigation following the COA report which uncovered the supposed ghost employees.

He calculated that if each was receiving a salary of P10,000 monthly, close to 700 ghost employees would be paid P7 million a month or P84 million a year. As Domagoso has been vice mayor for nine years, the amount would total P756 million, he added.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, ghost employees, Isko Moreno, Metro, News
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