Taguig spokesman: COA report mentioned no red flags, no ‘ghost employees,’ no irregularities
The Commission on Audit (COA) report being used to put Taguig City in a bad light for allegedly hiring more than 3,000 “ghost employees” is actually saying the exact opposite: that those employed are actually warm bodies assigned to different offices of the city government.
Taguig Councilor Darwin B. Icay, spokesman for the city, said that in its annual audit report on Taguig City dated Dec. 21, 2012, COA never said that the 3,188 job order personnel were ghost employees.
“The COA did not invalidate the hiring of JOs, it being a “lawful prerogative” of the City of Taguig. They are not ghost employees. They are flesh-and-blood persons rendering vital social services to the city’s constituents. The COA itself acknowledged that the amount spent for the JO personnel allowed the City ‘to augment the present workforce,’” Icay noted.
Icay described the case filed by a lawyers group before the Ombudsman as nothing more than a diversion of the investigation of the Senate into the P2-billion corruption case involving a Makati parking building. The case was filed the same day and same time the Senate hearing was conducted.
He said that the convenors of the group, lawyers Rod Vera and Fhilip Sawali, are both law school partners of Rep. Abby Binay and has been used by the Binays against Sec. Mar Roxas in the past.
“The City of Taguig has made full use of these JO personnel. The COA report in fact did not characterize the use of the budget for JO personnel as excessive or wasteful. The budget for JO personnel went into the successful delivery of much-needed, much-desired, and much-admired social services.”
The spokesman said the city has been winning awards left and right, including citations from the World Bank for being the most business-friendly city in Metro Manila and for being top 10 in the Philippines, recognitions received under the leadership of Mayor Lani Cayetano.
The said COA report stated, in exact terms: “Verification disclosed that the personnel in the above-mentioned programs were actually assigned/deployed to different Offices in the absence or lack of regular personnel performing regular functions/services,” the report said.
In fact, COA even said that the employees went through biometric daily time records, and for those that did not use biometrics, there were manual time records provided.
“It is worth mentioning that the biometric machine readings of daily time records were the basis of the HRMO in the preparation of payrolls for these personnel. For those not using the biometric machine, the manual time records are the basis of payroll preparation,” the report read.
Also, it was never in the report that COA’s findings indicate that Taguig City failed to regularize its employees, nor did it say that the contractualization was done to circumvent security of tenure and giving of benefits.
Instead COA only made recommendations to the City.
“Management justified that job order services are needed to implement and facilitate its various programs though, the City is now considering the revision of the existing plantilla positions to address the said concern. However, it will entail a lof of time due to Civil Service requirements and procedures,” it said. ###