Ombudsman files charges vs. Paulate, co-councilor for 'ghost employees'

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed charges against actor and Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate and another member of the Quezon City council for allegedly keeping "ghost" employees on the payroll.

Paulate and QC Councilor Francisco Calalay Jr. made payments to 59 "job order personnel" from July to November 2010, according to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Yahoo! Southeast Asia sought Paulate for comment but he was not at his office. Marvin Dedico, Paulate’s legislative officer, said their office has yet to receive any documents from the Office of the Ombudsman. Calalay’s office could not be reached as of posting time.

The Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office looked into a complaint filed by Jimmy Lee Davis and found that the supposed employees do not exist.

"Investigation disclosed that these fictitious personnel do not have birth records from the National Statistics Office, are not registered voters of Quezon City, have (not) secured NBI clearances, and are not known in the respective barangays where they allegedly reside or the indicated addresses where they purportedly reside do not exist," the Office of the Ombudsman said.

The payments were made on the basis of allegedly spurious personal data sheets and payrolls.

Paulate allegedly paid 30 ghost employees while Calalay had 29 on the payroll.

At monthly wages of from P2,500 to P5,000 per employee, Paulate allegedly disbursed around P1.1 million for his fictitious employees. Calalay disbursed around P2.2 million in wages, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman has filed a graft charge and administrative charges of Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Falsification of Official Documents against the two councilors. Charges have also been filed against their respective liaison officers.

Violation of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act is punishable "with imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income."[http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1960/ra_3019_1960.html]

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