QC Councilor Paulate, aide charged over ‘ghost employees’
Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate was charged on Wednesday with graft and falsification for allegedly hiring ghost employees and faking job orders and payroll records from July to December 2010.
The Office of the Ombudsman accused Paulate, a councilor of the city’s second district, and his driver and liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde of “causing undue injury” to the city government in the amount of P1.1 million, which was allegedly used to pay 30 bogus contractual workers.
The actor-turned-politician was charged in the Sandiganbayan with one count of graft, one count of falsification by a public officer and eight counts of falsification of public documents. The same charges were also filed against Bajamunde, except falsification by a public officer.
The Ombudsman recommended bail at P246,000 for Paulate and P222,000 for Bajamunde.
Based on the investigation conducted by Ombudsman prosecutors, the two conspired to defraud the Quezon City government by hiring the “fictitious job contractors.”
Paulate was accused of ordering his chief of staff to prepare fraudulent documents, including personal data sheets and job orders; signing and submitting the falsified documents to the Office of the Vice Mayor for endorsement and issuing an authorization letter to Bajamunde to collect “in behalf of the nonexistent payees.”
Bajamunde, on the other hand, was accused of falsifying the signatures of the fake payees and collecting their salaries.
Sought for reaction, Paulate told the Inquirer that the charges against him were old issues dug up by his rivals.
“I just have to face it in the proper venue. But my answers will remain the same, using old documents and old evidence,” he said, adding that the charges had already been dismissed by the Court of Appeals for lack of merit.
Paulate and Bajamunde were previously dismissed by the Ombudsman which found them guilty of similar administrative anomalies, including the hiring of ghost employees.
But the appellate court reversed the Ombudsman’s ruling in 2016, saying there was no substantial evidence to prove the charges against them. —With a report from Jhesset O. Enano
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