Plunder raps vs Duterte
DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte kept 11,000 ghost employees in the city notorious for extrajudicial killings and summary executions, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Four days before Election Day, Trillanes filed a plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Duterte, a presidential candidate, over the alleged ghost employees who were allotted a budget of P708 million in 2014 for their salaries.
“I’ve unmasked him for who he really is,” Trillanes, a vice presidential candidate, said in a press briefing at the Magdalo headquarters in Quezon City.
“This is the smoking gun. This will open the floodgates for other pieces of evidence. Mayor Duterte is a fraud and his corruption has been caught. I hope this will enlighten our countrymen who have been fooled,” the senator said.
The basis for the complaint was a 2015 Commission on Audit (COA) report questioning the Davao City government’s hiring of 11,000 contractual employees without a written policy.
The COA report said that with the identification of persons to be hired resting on the recommendation of the department heads and city officials, the conditions “cast doubt that entries in the daily time record of these employees… are manipulated, thus regularity and validity of the related expenditures could not be ascertained.”
The spokesperson of Duterte’s political party, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said Davao City had no ghost employees.
Trillanes said his camp conducted a random check and found that some of the names on the list were nonexistent. He did not say how many were checked.
Bank deposits, properties
The budget for the ghost employees could be the source of funds for Duterte’s undeclared bank accounts that saw transactions totaling P2.4 billion from 2006 to 2015 and for at least 40 properties, the vice presidential candidate said.
In the complaint, Trillanes asked the Ombudsman to subpoena the bank records under Duterte’s name through the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
He also asked the Ombudsman to suspend Duterte while an investigation was going on and to consider his unexplained wealth the basis for dismissal.
The complaint includes money laundering, malversation of public funds and entering into a transaction grossly disadvantageous to the government (a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
It also includes acceptance of gifts in the course of official duty (a violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees) over the cars and properties given to Duterte by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
The plunder complaint could be a basis for an impeachment case against Duterte should he win the presidency, Trillanes said. “But there’s time. We don’t have to arrive at that scenario,” he said.
“It’s clear that Duterte has hidden wealth. He has the same modus [operandi] as that of Vice President Jejomar Binay,” Trillanes said. “You believed me when I investigated Vice President Binay. So why doubt me now? I have not released any unfounded information.”
“If you will still vote for Duterte despite him being rude and corrupt, it’s up to you. I have not been remiss in exposing who he is,” Trillanes said.
That Duterte hired thousands of contractuals is old news.
The Inquirer ran on June 22, 2015, a story about the hiring of contractuals and the COA report questioning the practice as it would open the possibility of patronage politics because of the alleged lack of a hiring manual.
Duterte said at the time that he would hire three times as many contractual employees as the existing 11,246 if only to keep the city clean, safe and orderly.
“In the government, we don’t add plantilla positions every year and Davao City is one of the biggest cities in the country, so, we hire contractuals,” he said then in reply to the COA report.
“The P708 million (that the COA questioned) is part of the city’s operational expense. I’m spending it on contractual workers from garbage collectors to drivers, to intelligence operatives roaming around the city,” the mayor said on his television program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.”
“You don’t expect plantilla workers to collect garbage, do you?” he asked. “And garbage collectors are working in the city on three shifts.”
“I am the mayor, I decide how much I spend and how many will work for the interest of the city,” he added.
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