Akbayan bigwig turned anti-poverty czar to explain P 28-M salaries for “consultants”

THE fisherfolk alliance urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino to asked his appointee at the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) to explain and account some P 27.97 million, which he used to get the services of 81 contractual personnel and 19 consultants last year.

In a statement, the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said NAPC chair Jose Eliseo Rocamora also former President of Akbayan party list to account in his all intellectual honesty the P 27, 970,000.00, which his agency used last year to pay contractual workers and consultants.

“Mr. Rocamora should answer the inquiry of the Commission on Audit regarding the use of nearly 28 million pesos in taxpayers’ money for the salaries of additional personnel and consultants, which the present work force of the commission can do without the need of additional personnel,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap in a  statement.

The group also said the names of consultants and other contractual personnel commissioned by Akbayan should also be revealed.

“How many of them are Akbayan officials and personnel? How many of them are not from Akbayan? Mr. Rocamora and his gangmates are obligated to tell the truth and be held accountable period, period, period, period,” added Hicap.

Citing the same COA report, Pamalakaya said NAPC, which is an attached agency of the Office of the President was only allowed to maintain 50 personnel and staff based on its approved budget and had filled up only 24 positions. In addition to its regular staff, the anti-poverty

The COA noted that NAPC hired 81 employees under Contract of Service (COS), 19 consultants and 49 others to augment its personnel complement, thus incurring expenses for Other Professional Services totaling P27, 972,756.17.

The hiring of non-plantilla people was NAPC’s single biggest expenditure item in 2011 according to COA, and Pamalakaya believed this scheme if scrutinize could lead to discovery of big crimes of corruption in the anti-poverty agency.

The  group said the expenses for contractual workers and consultants is doubled compared to salary allocations for regular personnel, which was only P13.69 million including salaries and allowances, bonuses and benefits contributions like insurance and Philhealth.

“The discrepancy speaks of something illegal and immoral. This P 27.97 million bonanza perhaps is just a tip of the iceberg. There’s more to explore in the NAPC,” said Pamalakaya.

In its report, state auditors also questioned the necessity of hiring part-timers that resulted in an additional expense of P893, 241, “which could have been avoided had the agency maximized the use of the employees.

Earlier, Pamalakaya had called for the resignation of Rocamora as NAPC chief, along with other Akbayan officials holding different posts in the Aquino government. Aside from Rocamora, the group had also asked the resignations of Ronald Llamas, political affairs adviser, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Etta Rosales, former Akbayan Rep. Mario Agujo, now member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Board of Trustees and former Akbayan chair Percival Cendena, now commissioner at large of the National Youth Commission to resign from their currrent posts.

The group also urged Akbayan’s second nominee Barry Gutierrez to resign as Palace undersecretary for political affairs, and Akbayan’s third nominee Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, who serves as commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.


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