Lawyers’ group files plunder, graft charges against Cayetanos

A LAWYERS’ group on Wednesday filed a plunder case before the Ombudsman against Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano and members of the city council in connection with the alleged hiring of 3,188 ghost employees.

In its complaint, the lawyers’ group, the Philippine Association for the Advocacy of Civil Liberties (PAACL), led by Rod Vera, said Cayetano allegedly used P314 million to hire casual personnel, a year before May 2013 elections.

“The ineluctable conclusion is that the 3,188 personnel, or a majority thereof, are ‘ghost’ employees, with the purported salaries of these ‘ghost’ employees illegally used in the 2013 elections were the respondents; the husband of Cayetano, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano; and her brother-in-law, Lino Edgardo Cayetano, were all candidates,” the PAACL said.

The group also questioned the release of payment to the 3,188 personnel based only on written daily time sheets, instead of the regularly used biometric machines.

According to the complainant, Mayor Cayetano and the city council “committed the despicable act to the serious damage and prejudice of the government in the amount of P314 million and should, therefore, be charged with plunder.”

The PAACL, meanwhile, also filed criminal charges against the mayor and her husband, Senator Cayetano, as well as the city council, with violation of the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act for the allegedly anomalous purchase of 18 multicabs using the Priority Development Assistance Fund of the senator.

The complaint added that Mayor Cayetano has allowed the purchase of the light vehicles amounting to about P498,000 each, which the lawyers’ group believed is “grossly and unconscionably overpriced.”

The group said that based on market price for brand-new multicabs, there was an alleged overprice of more than P300,000 per unit, or a total P5.4 million for the 18 units purchased.

“The amount used to purchase the multicabs could not have been disbursed by the City of Taguig without the concurrence and approval of the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Taguig during the year 2012,” it added.

Also, the PAACL filed another graft charge against Senator Cayetano, owing to the “sudden increase” of the lawmaker’s net worth despite not having new “source of income.”

The group said that the senator’s net worth increased from P15.804 million in 2010 to P23.210 million in 2011.

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