Where Ghosts Thrive-A A +A
At Close Range
Thursday, November 3, 2011
THE recent revelation by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad brings to light the long-thriving scheme of paying salaries, perks and benefits to non-appearing and properly reporting workers and employees, non-existent, to be technical about it, but nevertheless share in the burden of government in the allocation of funds in the national budget but whose services are not availed of, or to be more specific, those individuals who show up a cashiers' counters only on paydays.
Most, if not all, government offices, on the national level to start with, do harbor these so-called ghost employees but in reality, are warm bodies who pad the payroll of offices and thicken the wallets and pockets of mostly officials who recommended the inclusion of 'ghosts' in the lists in the first place. Gross practices prevail in most of these offices such that the benefactors sign for the non-existent employees' names and take out the cash for their own means.
The total costs for such grand deception run into millions as estimated, revealed and admitted by Secretary Abad who cited the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police as the two leading outfits harboring ghost workers and employees.
Another anomaly was discovered on pensions claimed for veterans long-deceased by unscrupulous individuals whose caper has been wittingly or unwittingly allowed or condoned by paymasters or signing authorities. It is only fair that such discrepancies have been discovered and the perpetrators and cohorts unmasked and prosecuted.
Of course, there are other offices, agencies and organizations in government -- local and national -- where ghosts thrive still and only time will tell when their nefarious schemes are unearthed, exposed and punished, including their collaborators.
Secretary Abad is right in recommending that a much paperless scheme, a debit-credit sort of approach, is put in place so as to place the schemers out of business, prompt scam-less payroll payments and do away with temptation and risk in handling so much cash, particularly the cashiers and paymasters.
Funny but even controllers take part in the scam, for a fee or cut or commission. It is in this setting that anomalies are more difficult to uncover, unless the victim or victims rat on the schemers, but until the revelation comes out, it is always happy time for 'ghosts' and their creators.
To further illustrate, there are reports that some servicemen and policemen go on indefinite leave and still get their salaries way beyond their legal terms. Why? The cashiers and paymasters help themselves on the drawable salaries and benefits of the absent uniformed men. All these of course work to the disadvantage of the government as it loses cash and the services of the people on prolonged albeit unauthorized leave. There are other schemes to defraud the government and these are so known to the malefactors and, the sorriest part, they do not even feel remorse for their wrongdoing. On the contrary, they prance about like vain peacocks.
Local government units too have their share of 'ghosts' in their payroll lists. Do you wonder where the cash taken from these lists go? Why, to their patrons and benefactors, of course. This malpractice has been going on for quite some time now and even periodic audits do not uncover such anomalies. Why, kaya? Atin ken koy?
Dubious. The financial assistance reportedly being extended to leftist, communist groups like the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) is a very bitter pill to swallow for well-meaning citizens who detest and abhor any acts of violence and desecration of Philippine democracy by left-espousing and treasonous outfits like the ABB and its kind. Why give funds to an enemy of the people and the state who has a distasteful record of killings, maimings and rubouts of even innocent civilians? What is the logic there? Why sleep with a dangerous enemy when there are people more deserving of our attention and care? I hope the PNoy administration does not fall into the trap of double talkers and instead focus and direct the efforts and resources on more deserving causes instead of throwing people's money to swines belonging to the once-dreaded Sparrow unit of the ABB, and by extension, the New People's Army or NPA. Do not consider the recommendations of Teresita "Ging" Deles, supposedly the adviser on the peace process. If possible, double check her propensities and priorities bearing on the so-called peace talks and not take her word at face value. Who knows there might be under-the-table negotiations between her and the rebels?
I'd like to congratulate the men and women behind RW's award and recognition as the country's Best Provincial FM radio station this year: Levy P. Laus, Perry Pangan, Boy Santiago and staff. Keep on pushing upward, gentlemen and more successes in your rendition of good music and laudable public service!
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 04, 2011.