The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) will now formally conduct a fact-finding investigation on the complaint against Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmena for apparent irregularities in the disbursement of P210 million under the City’s Clean and Green Program. Lawyer Pablo John Garcia, who filed the complaint against Osmeña last March 11, received a letter from the Ombudsman in the Visayas informing him that the case has been docketed as FF-V-19-0096.
In a statement, Garcia said, “I thank the Ombudsman Visayas for the quick and decisive action. This is significant because the Ombudsman may now use its subpoena powers to secure documents and obtain statements which we otherwise, as ordinary citizens, would have difficulty getting.” Garcia filed the complaint against Osmeña, along with four appointive officials and
three Toledo City councilors, after he received copies of documents that showed suspicious names and signatures had been used to justify the release of P210 million from Clean and Green funds in the last six months of 2018 alone.
The Commission on Audit (COA) also found similar questionable transactions, still under the Clean and Green Program, in 2017 and has tasked its Fraud Audit Office to look into these.
The documents show that the Clean and Green Program, as implemented by a few City officials employed ghost employees who were:
(1) fictitious persons;
(2) real persons whose names were listed as JO employees without their knowledge or consent; or
(3) real persons who knew that their names were listed as JO employees but who were not actually made to work and who either was not paid or were merely promised a small sum (less than 10 percent of their actual pay), with the officials pocketing the bulk of the salary. The documents also included entire payrolls were filled with forged signatures that were clearly signed by just one person.
Also named in the complaint were:
• Justin Anthony B. de Jesus (Osmeña’s executive assistant);
• Acting Toledo City Budget Officer Gethsemane B. Mahinay;
• Acting City Administrator Ferdinand D. Marquez;
• City Treasurer Leonardo A. Rivera Jr.;
• Toledo City Councilor Marjorie Perales;
• Toledo City Councilor Leo Dolino; and
• Toledo City Association of Barangay Councils president Ophelio Dolino,
sitting as an ex-officio member of the City Council (also Councilor Leo’s
Pablo John “PJ” Garcia