Roderick Paulate gets 62 years for ‘ghost’ employees

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Roderick Paulate gets 62 years for �ghost� employees
Roderick Paulate.
Roderick Paulate FB Page

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has sentenced former Quezon City councilor Roderick Paulate to up to 62 years in prison for graft and falsification of public documents in connection with the hiring of “ghost” employees in 2010.

In a 130-page decision promulgated on Nov. 25 but made public only yesterday, the court’s Seventh Division found Paulate guilty of one count of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and nine counts of falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.

He was sentenced to six years to eight years for graft and six months to six years for each count of falsification – a minimum of 10 years and six months to up to a maximum of 62 years.

Convicted with Paulate for the graft case was his driver and former liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde.

Paulate and Bajamunde were also ordered to indemnify the government P1.109 million, with six percent interest per annum until fully paid.

The amount of indemnity was equivalent to the amount of public funds that Paulate, through Bajamunde, collected from the city treasurer’s office for the supposed salaries of the hired employees.

Bajamunde was acquitted of the falsification charges while Paulate was fined P10,000 for each count of falsification.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in April 2018, the cases stemmed from Paulate’s office hiring 30 “ghost” or fictitious job contractors from July to November 2010.

The ombudsman said Paulate falsified a job order/contract of service including the signatures therein of the fictitious contractors to oblige the city government to allocate funds for their salaries.

The ombudsman said Paulate and Bajamunde also prepared fictitious personal data sheets of the non-existent contractors as well as eight general payrolls certifying that the contractors each rendered 40 hours of service per week.

With the falsified payrolls, Paulate, through Bajamunde, was able to collect from the City Treasurer’s Office a total of P1.109 million fund, representing the contractors’ salaries from July 1 to November 15, 2010, the ombudsman said.

The court said that while Paulate denied participation in the preparation of the subject documents, claiming that they were only submitted to him for signature, the prosecution was able to establish that the documents were falsified upon his instruction.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses with the concurrence of Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Georgina Hidalgo.

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