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Roderick Paulate, other QC officials ordered suspended over 'ghost employees' issue

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the six-month preventive suspension of two Quezon City councilors, including actor Roderick Paulate, over allegations that they maintain "ghost employees" in their payrolls. The order came after the Ombudsman approved the findings from its Field Investigation Office (FIO) showing evidence against Paulate and Councilor Francisco Calalay Jr, as well as their liaison officers Flordeliza Alvarez and Vicente Bajamunde. The city officials and officers will remain suspended while the Ombudsman conducts a preliminary investigation on the matter. Reached for comment by GMA News Online, staff members of Calalay said he was out of the office. Meanwhile, Paulete's office did not answer phone calls. The officials are facing possible charges of Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification of Public Documents, Violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 and administrative charges for Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Falsification of Official Documents. “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,” Carpio-Morales said in a statement. The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Quezon City hall employee Jimmy Lee Davis, who alleged that Paulate was keeping 30 "ghost" employees while Calalay had 29 under their respective payrolls. The case was filed through Davis' lawyer, former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. According to his camp, the employees were identified in the payrolls as "job order personnel" but investigation results showed they were fictitious individuals. Salaries paid to the "ghost employees" of Paulate from July to November 2010 totaled P1,125,000, while salaries received by Calalay's "ghost employees" from January to November 2010 amounted to P2.18 million. The fictitious personnel received monthly salaries ranging from P2,500 to P5,000. The Ombudsman's FIO said the fictitious employees were maintained through the use of spurious personal data sheets with forged signatures. — Mark Merueñas /LBG, GMA News