Roderick Paulate charged over ghost employees

Elizabeth Marcelo - Philstar.com
Roderick Paulate charged over ghost employees
Because of the falsified payrolls, QC Councilor Roderick Paulate, through his driver and liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde, was allegedly able to collect from the City Treasurer's Office a total of P1.109 million in reimbursements, representing the contractors' salaries from July 1 to November 15, 2010.

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate has been formally charged in court over his alleged hiring of fictitious contractual employees in 2010 to supposedly pocket their collected salaries amounting P1.109 million.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan on April 20, the charges against Paulate include one count of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and nine counts of falsification under the Revised Penal Code.

Named as Paulate's co-accused in the cases was his driver and liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde.

Based on charge sheets prepared by graft investigation and prosecution officer Michelle Villabesa, Paulate, in conspiracy with Bajamunde, allegedly defrauded the government of P1.109 million by hiring in his office 30 fictitious or “ghost” job contractors from July to November 2010.

The ombudsman said Paulate falsified a Job Order/Contract of Service document including the signatures therein of the fictitious contractors, to oblige the city government to allocate funds for their salaries.

Furthermore, the ombudsman said Paulate and Bajamunde also prepared fictitious Personal Data Sheets of the non-existent contractors as supporting document.

Paulate and Bajamunde also allegedly falsified eight General Payrolls certifying that the contractors each rendered 40 hours of service per week.

The ombudsman said that because of the falsified payrolls, Paulate, through Bajamunde, was able to collect from the City Treasurer's Office a total of P1.109 million in reimbursements, representing the contractors' salaries from July 1 to November 15, 2010.

The ombudsman said the fund was released to Bajamunde by the disbursement officer of the City Treasurer's Office by the virtue of an authorization letter signed by Paulate, even without presenting any Special Powers of Attorney from the contractors.

Bajamunde and Paulate allegedly affixed to the General Payrolls the signatures of the fictitious contractors to make it appear that they have already received their salaries.

The ombudsman recommended to the Sandiganbayan to set Paulate's and Bajamunde's bail bonds at P246,000 and P222,000, respectively.

It was in January 2016, when the ombudsman ordered Paulate's dismissal from service for administrative offenses of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct over the alleged hiring of ghost contractors.

In December 2016, however, the Court of Appeals granted Paulate's petition for review and overturned the ombudsman's ruling.

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