Its plunder if proven and Atty. Pablo John Garcia asked the Ombudsman to investigate Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmena (JHO) and other Toledo officials for it. The amount involved is P210 million surrounding the city’s clean and green program where Job Order (J.O.) workers who allegedly are “ghost employees” were hired. “The inescable conclusion is that these J.O. employees are ghost employees” Garcia said in part in his 15-page complaint to Ombudsman Samuel Martires. Garcia who is facing Osmena in the Cebu 3rd district congressional race also prayed that the Mayor and the others involved be preventively suspended. Former Pinamungajan Mayor Geraldine “Gaye” Yapha is also seeking the post.
Apart from asking for the suspension, Garcia said, he will also petition the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the assets of Osmena and the rest. Asked on the timing of the filing of the request for investigation which is already the election period, Garcia said it was just incidental that he discovered the questionable program at this time. “I’m a politician but documents do not have politics,” he said minutes after he filed the request for investigation in the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente. Garcia noted that the amount come in 3 tranches in 2018; P70 million in May, P60 million in October 25 and an earlier P80 million last October 10. According to Garcia his complaint surround on ghost employees, fictitious persons, forged signatures, not actually working individuals, posing for picture purposes and bulk of the proceeds of the amount is allegedly retained by officials.
He said that a great number of the supposed JO employees are “non-existent” apart from having persons who are “not known residents” nor “not registered voters” in Toledo City. Signatures were also “clearly forged,” “even to the naked eye, palpably written by one person,” Garcia also said. He showed in a power point presentation, signed daily time records (DTR’s) which were “forged” where the strokes and pressures of the penmanship were just visibly written by a single individual. Garcia also averred that most are not actually working; citing one who is a student in Cebu City, another working in a known department store, another as employee of a fast food chain while there is one who could not work as J.O. because he tended to his “paralyzed wife.” Some were told to just sign documents in exchange for P1,500-P2,000 which is very little compared to the actual compensation of P42, 000 for six months at P350 daily for twenty days in one month.
None of the supposed J.O.’s actually worked, Garcia alleged. “Why is there no visible sign of any JO employee cleaning our barangay? If you do the math, P200 million for six months is around P33 million a month. Working at P350 a day for 20 days a week, there would have been – at any given day – 4,670 JO employees working in the 38 barangays of Toledo City. And yet if you ask any resident, no sign of these Clean and Green JO employees was evident during the last half of 2018,” Garcia further claimed. The lawyer also described the garbage and sanitation in Toledo City as abhorrent, despite the supposed clean and green program. The documents submitted also included affidavits of witnesses that corroborated the charges.
Photos by Allan Defensor