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White Paper No. 3 - Retirement Funds Milking Cows of Philippine Politicians

White Paper No. 3 - Retirement Funds Milking Cows of Philippine Politicians

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Published by Abbey B. Canturias
This white paper provides multinational companies doing business in the Philippines a closer understanding of the politics that shape policy
This white paper provides multinational companies doing business in the Philippines a closer understanding of the politics that shape policy

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Abbey B. Canturias on Aug 21, 2012
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08/21/2012

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White Paper #3:How Financial Aid to Senior Citizens BecomeMilking Cows of Local Politicians
ByPhilippine Institute of Applied Politics
Abstract
This white paper is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the political subject covered. Condensed from the book “Tapestry of Philippine Politics,” thefollowing excerpts attempts to record all forms of machinations and maneuvers through which theadministration of MAYOR TOMAS OSMENA formulates its major governance policy of  providing financial assistance to senior citizens of Cebu City, disbursing public funds for the purpose, and tapping government monies for political/personal ends.A conspiracy involving top officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS)and directors in the Cebu City Senior Citizens Council (CCSC) who are known to be appointees of Mayor Osmena had defrauded the city government at least P14 million a year for four years or P56million in-between 2008 and 2011 from appropriation providing P4,000 in annual financialassistance to senior citizens.The scam involved the use of 3,500 membership accounts, consisting of 440 senior citizens whohad long since died, 1,427 senior citizens who are still alive but had moved to other provinces andcities of the Philippines, and 1,633 bogus senior citizens, according to documents uncovered inresearch and investigation by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and Commissionon Audit (COA).They were able to collect the monies through Osmena’s loyal ward (disbursing officers) at theOffice of the City Treasury, CCSC, and barrio captains.The scam was uncovered based on the paper trail of 486 men and women whose sample signaturesand penmanship matched (via computer software) with those signatures in the payrolls where the3,500 accounts appeared.
Implications
Reflective of serious misconduct, abuse of authority and discretion, and serious irregularity towarddefrauding the government, this will affect the re-election of Osmena, about which the USDepartment of State and the Political Section of the US Embassy in Manila should be aware.
 
Chronology
June 2007: Mayor informed the City Legislative Council that the Cebu City Senior Council(CCSC)
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, composed of six members, will be formed to lay down the policies and procedurestoward providing annual financial assistance to senior citizens of the city via legislation;July 2007: The Office of the City Mayor and the CCSC pegged the financial assistance at P4,000 per year to every retiree from both government and private sectors who are aged 60 and above,who are still living, and who may be qualified within reasonably adequate documentation
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;June 2008: In its first year 
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of implementation, up to 41,976 men and women aged 60 and abovewho are certified and documented to be alive were extended assistance at P4,000 each;The membership accounts of 3,500 men and women – including 440 senior citizens who had longsince died, 1,427 senior citizens who are still alive but had moved to other provinces and cities of the Philippines, and 1,633 bogus senior citizens – were integrated into the rolls of beneficiaries in15 barrios by the DSWS, through CATHY YSO, and the CCSC chaired by ROGER NUNEZ.June 2009: During the second year 
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, a little more than 44,627 senior citizens availed of thefinancial assistance at P4,000 each;June 2010: Before the mayoral term
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of OSMENA ended in June 2010, his administrationmanaged to give away P4,000 in financial assistance to 46,841 senior citizens;June 2011: The new administration of Mayor Michael Rama
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formed the Office of Senior CitizensAffairs (OSCA) and processed and paid P4,000 per senior citizen among 48,892 who werequalified;January 2012: Mayor Rama declared a new policy
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increasing the financial assistance to P7,000 to be given in two installments—the first in June 2012 for P3,000 and another P4,000 in December;April 2012: Rama ordered a review on the documentation of senior citizens qualified under theadministration of his predecessor to remove from the roll of recipients those who have died or whohave moved to other provinces of the country;During the first installment cut-off on June 26, 2012, up to 51,003 recipients were qualified.Unfortunately, only 47,872 were able to show up, submit valid identification, and collect.Between June 27, 2012 and July 26, 2012 not a single one of the remaining qualified 3,131 senior citizens appeared to claim their share of financial assistance. The cash cover for such assistancehad lapsed by July 15, 2012 and was no longer eligible for release.
 
Senior staff at OSCA raised suspicion of padding in the roster of recipients involving appointees of MAYOR OSMENA to the CCSC and attempts to defraud the government millions in financialassistance that had fallen into the hands of bogus senior citizens.
How Much Money Changed Hands
Between 2008 and 2011, up to 182,336 had been given P729.344 million
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in financial assistance.During the first June 26, 2012 cut-off up to P143.616 million were disbursed to 47,872 recipients.A conspiracy involving top officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS)and their cohorts in about 15 barrios had successfully defrauded the government up to P14 milliona year or P56 million in-between June 2008 and December 2011.The scam which involved 440 senior citizens who had long since died, 1,427 senior citizens whoare still alive but had moved to other provinces and cities of the Philippines, and 1,633 bogussenior citizens.
Investigation Findings
1.1 A discreet investigation
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zeroed in 3,500 recipients who had inadequate documentation butwere extended financial assistance between 2008 and 2011. Altogether for 14,000 recipients, up toP56 million had fallen into the wrong hands.1.2 The list of allegedly dubious
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recipients belonged to batches that were previously cleared for  payment by the DSWS under the administration of OSMENA. The paper trail of anomaloustransactions was traced to the endorsements of DSWS department head CATHY YSO and CCSCexecutive chairman ROGER NUNEZ.1.3 The names of recipients in the padded
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list belonged to men and women from Duljo Fatima,Inayawan, Kalunasan, Kinasang-an, Mambaling, Pardo, Punta Princesa, Quiot, San Nicolas,Bulacao, Calamba, Suba, Sawang Calero, Tabunan and Tisa—traditionally political turfs or  bailiwicks of OSMENA.1.4 The signatures and penmanship of 3,500 recipients
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who were able to escape detection andsigned the payroll came from 486 men and women, as was established in a computer-ran signaturematching process performed by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGC).1.5 Up to P28 million in amounts raised by 486 payment receipt facilitators
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in 2009 and 2010found their way into the account of suspected Tommy bagman Augustus Pe, who subsequentlytransferred them to his principal’s BPI and HSBC accounts. The money was later given to allies of Osmena who ran for positions in the October 2010 barrio elections (See White Paper No.4);1.6 The conspiracy to defraud the government P56 million
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could not have been made possiblewithout the cooperation of “silent partners” in the CCSC dominated by political appointees of OSMENA.

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