PSC officer-in-charge Ramon Fernandez
PSC begins hunt for co-conspirators in 'payroll scam'
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - July 15, 2020 - 4:57pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Sports Commission will form a separate group tasked to search potential co-conspirators with the suspect involved in the “payroll scam.”

PSC officer-in-charge Ramon Fernandez on Wednesday said a fact-finding committee will be put up soon to find out if there are bigger fish involved other than accused Paul Michael Padua Ignacio, a contractual or non-organic employee assigned in the personnel department.

“Our initial thoughts were he was not alone in this,” said Fernandez. “So we signed a memorandum creating a task force from the PSC for fact-finding that will conduct our own investigation, and to other similar cases.

“We want to get to the bottom of this, everyone needs to be punished,” he added.
Fernandez said Ignacio is willing to cooperate, and if possible, spill the beans.
The 19-time time PBA champion and four-time MVP, however, did not say if there will be reshuffling of department heads but vowed to implement stricter measures next time to avoid a repetition of this incident.

“Everybody in our organization should be mindful about this. It’s a wake-up call for all of our employees and should be a lesson to all,” said Fernandez.  “We need to have a thorough internal audit of our employees.”

NBI Deputy Director Vicente de Guzman III said scam has been perpetrated for five years now.

“He has been doing this since 2015. We will go deeper into the matter because the PSC is serious in threshing out the anomalous acts of the person or the group,” said de Guzman.

National Bureau of Investigation Special Action Unit chief Emeterio Dongallo, Jr., for his part, said Ignacio committed a capital offense and would be initially charged with qualified theft and falsification of public documents.

“It’s a bailable crime and if there are co-conspirators, we will charge them with graft and corruption,” said Dongallo.

The modus Ignacio allegedly used was to enlist athletes and coaches no longer under the PSC, and putting the former’s bank account in their stead.

Reports have it that the culprit may have allegedly embezzled P14 million or maybe more.

The PSC was alerted of the possible fraud by Marietta Cabusao, assistant vice president of Land Bank of the Philippines Century Park Hotel branch when the latter saw “unusual payroll transactions” credited to the account of Ignacio.

NBI PSC RAMON FERNANDEZ
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