MANILA–The city government of Makati has filed a second complaint against former acting mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña for his “blatant disregard of the law” in issuing letters of appointment effecting the promotion and transfer of personnel during the election period.
In a letter to Comelec Law Department head Norina Tangaro-Casingal, Makati City Legal Officer Michael Arthur R. Camiña requested assistance “in taking the necessary legal actions” against Peña for issuing appointments on February 1, 2016 and March 1, 2016.
The letter, dated March 15, 2017 was received by Comelec Law Department on March 17, 2017.
In the letter, Camiña cited three city employees promoted and transferred by Peña whose appointments were subsequently invalidated by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for being “not in order.”
Based on records of the city Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), Jeffrey M. Samson, Clerk III under the Education Department, was transferred to the HRDO with the position of Administrative Assistant VI-Clerk III effective February 1, 2016.
On March 1, 2016, Fordeliza N. Silva and Aileen M. Soriano were promoted and transferred. From her previous position of Accountant IV under Accounting Department, Silva was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer-Cashier V under Finance Department. Soriano, on the other hand, was promoted and transferred from Budget Officer IV under Budget Department to Accountant V under Accounting Department.
Comelec Resolution No. 9981, promulgated on August 18, 2015, prescribed the election period from January 10, 2016 to June 8, 2016. Under the Omnibus Election Code, the transfer or movement of personnel in the civil service during election period is prohibited, except with prior authority from Comelec.
“Accordingly, we request your assistance on the matter, and trust that you will file the necessary actions to sanction Peña’s blatant disregard of the law,” Camiña said.
If found guilty, Peña faces a penalty of imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years, and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, he faces disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage, under Section 264 of Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code.
Last Feb. 22, the city legal officer filed his initial letter of complaint with Comelec against Peña, citing five personnel who were illegally promoted and transferred to other departments.
Camiña noted that during his short stint as Acting Mayor, Peña appointed, promoted and transferred city government personnel but most of these have been invalidated by the CSC as they were made during the Election Period.
As of November last year, the HRDO had recorded a total of 326 ‘midnight appointments’ issued by Peña revoked by the CSC for violating the Election Ban. These included 114 promotions, 175 regularization, 29 casual appointments, one reemployment and one original appointment.
A personnel review audit conducted by the new administration immediately upon assumption into office revealed that the Peña administration had bloated the city payroll with over 1,300 hirees. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, they hired a total of 1,218 additional casuals, 22 contractuals and 78 consultants.
The audit also uncovered cases of double compensation, with the appointees receiving salaries and benefits from the Office of the Mayor and the barangays. Cases of ‘ghost employees’ who collected salaries and benefits without ever reporting for work were also documented.
The Binay administration also uncovered contracts amounting to some half a billion pesos that were not opened to public bidding, but were merely extended by Peña.
“These documented actions of the Peña administration are contrary to their public posturings of good governance,” Camiña said.