Former acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. had padded the number of city employees by over 1,300 during his term, among them his relatives and relatives of his political allies, according to a city official.
The Peña administration also did not open to public bidding some half a billion pesos in contracts and merely ex-tended them, Michael Camiña, lawyer and city legal officer, said on Thursday.
“Contrary to the posturings of good governance, the Peña administration treated the city government as an employment agency for relatives and allies. As a result, the city payroll was bloated and it was at the expense of tax-payers,” Camina added.
From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the Peña administration hired a total of 1,218 additional casuals, 22 contractuals and 78 consultants, swelling the ranks of city government personnel, he said.
Camiña disclosed that a personnel review and audit they conducted immediately upon assumption into office re-vealed that relatives and acquaintances of Peña and known political allies were among those hired.
The assessment, he said, also showed that most of the new employees had no clear function or responsibility, and had dubious qualifications.
“The hirings made by Peña were not based on merit, skill or necessity. These were hirings for political purposes,” the city legal officer added.
“Merit and competence apparently took a backseat to political connections and blood relations in the hiring, pro-motion and regularization of employees,” he said.
According to the city official, the audit also uncovered cases of double compensation, with the appointees receiving salaries and benefits from the Office of the Mayor and the barangay (village).
Cases of “ghost employees” who collected salaries and benefits without ever reporting for work were also documented, Camina said.
“For the first two months, we also reviewed and evaluated all programs and services and uncovered contracts amounting to a total of P568,873,353 that were simply extended by the previous administration, without benefit of bidding. This is contrary to their public posturings,” he added.
The city official said extending contracts was their template for Ospital ng Makati, which they found in dismal conditions last July.
“We found our hospital, a recipient of an ISO certification, lacking in the most basic needs. There was a shortage in laboratory and medical supplies. Major diagnostic equipment and a non-functioning air-conditioning system were left unserviced,” he added.
Camiña assured the people of Makati that the current administration has done away with the old practice.
“We have opened these services and programs to public bidding in compliance with procurement laws,” he said.
The extended contracts included the supply of medicines and other medical supplies, P33.3 million (2016) and P98.9 million (2015); security services for City Hall buildings, public schools, health centers, police headquarters, fire station, parks, Makati Coliseum and other city-owned public facilities, P102.5 million (2016) and P125.6 million (2015); janitorial services for various facilities, P66.2 million (2016) and P92.7 million (2015); solid waste management services, P38.3 million (2016); and building maintenance services, P8.6 million (2016) and P2.8 million (2015).
Under the Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act 9184 and its implementing rules and regulations, the procurement of goods and services must strictly follow mandated procedures and requirements, including the holding of pre-procurement conference, advertisement or publication of invitation to bid, conduct of pre-bid conference, receipt and opening of bids, bid evaluation, post-qualification and award of contract to the winning bidder.