Sandigan upholds Paulate conviction

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has upheld the conviction of former Quezon City councilor Roderick Paulate for graft and falsification of public documents in connection with the hiring of ghost employees in 2010.

“After a careful perusal of the arguments raised by accused, the court finds no cogent reason to disturb its earlier findings. Notably, accused failed to raise new material allegations that would persuade the court to reconsider or reverse its previous finding of guilt,” the court’s Seventh Division said in its minute resolution promulgated on Jan. 23.

The Seventh Division said the arguments raised by Paulate and his driver and former liaison officer Vicente Bajamunde in their joint motion for reconsideration were just a rehash of their previous arguments, which had been tackled and passed upon in the assailed decision.

The Seventh Division had earlier 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 to eight years in prison for the graft offense and six months up to six years for each count of the falsification offense or a total of 10 years and six months to 62 years for all the cases.

Bajamunde was convicted with Paulate only in the graft case.

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.

Paulate was also ordered to pay a fine of P10,000 for each count of the falsification offense on top of his prison sentence.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in April 2018, the cases stemmed from Paulate’s alleged hiring under his office of 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 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 (PDS) 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, representing the contractors’ salaries from July 1 to Nov. 15, 2010, the ombudsman said.

In its new resolution, the Seventh Division maintained that “there is not an iota of good faith from the acts of... Paulate” and that the crime would not have been committed without his participation and gross negligence.

“Moreover, as Head of Office, Paulate’s recommendation to hire the 30 job contractors prompted the disbursement of government funds for the wages of the contractors. For six months, he never endeavored to ensure that the people he recommended are existing and that the so-called job contractors performed work,” the Seventh Division said.

“He recommended the hiring of the 30 job order contractors without even meeting them, relying only on the PDS that were submitted to them by the alleged area coordinator. It should also be recalled that there was no daily time record or report on the activities in the barangay, yet Paulate approved the payment of wages of the job contractors,” it added.

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


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with