THE Sandiganbayan has convicted comedian and former Quezon City councilor Roderick Paulate for graft and nine counts of falsification of documents in connection with the hiring of “ghost employees” in 2010.
The 7th Division of the Sandiganbayan sentenced Paulate and his driver Vicente Bajamunde up to 62 years imprisonment for falsifying public records of up to 30 fictitious workers assigned to his office.
“It bears noting that the job order contracts and general payrolls are deemed falsified documents because the job contractors subject therein do not exist. Accused (Paulate) maintained their existence and thus, to overcome the prosecution’s claim, accused only need to prove that they exist. Unfortunately, he failed in this respect,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Zaldy V. Trespeses, said.
The court said Paulate took advantage of his position and used the documents to obligate the funds and disburse them.
“..(I)t can safely be concluded that he was the author of the falsification or asked somebody else to prepare the falsified documents,” the court added.
Paulate was elected as Quezon City councilor in 2010 and was later accused of hiring 30 job order (JO) workers from July to December of the same year. He issued certifications after every 15th and end of the month that the job contractors rendered services for 40 hours a week.
He also designated his then driver, co-accused Bajamunde, as liaison officer and authorized him to receive in bulk the wages of the job contractors.
During those months, Paulate’s office received P125,000 every payday, totaling P1.109 million.
Verifications made on entries in the personal data sheets of the hired job contractors later revealed that they have no birth records, NBI application, or school records and their addresses could not be located. By Benjamin Pulta / Philippine News Agency