TWENTY-EIGHT counts of graft are hounding two former officials of a state-run television network after sales commissions worth P13 million were irregularly disbursed to one of them.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of 28 counts of graft charges against Jose Isabelo, former general manager of People’s Television Network Inc. (PTV 4), and Rolando Luna, the television’s marketing services consultant, for the irregular disbursement of more than P13.83 million in sales commissions between 2006 and 2008.
According to a 10-page Ombudsman resolution, Luna was contracted as “marketing services manager” from January 1, 2005 to March 31, 2011 successively. His contract stated that it “does not create an employer-employee contract between [PTV 4] and [Luna],” which makes him ineligible to receive benefits that regular employees enjoy.
Despite this, Luna received P13.83 million of sales commissions from 2006 to 2008 for advertising spots and placements.
Complainant Renato Caluag reiterated that Luna’s contract should have prevented him from receiving such commissions, as there was no board resolution authorizing it.
In his counter-affidavit, Isabelo argued that Board Resolution 2004-014 authorized the television network to grant sales commissions to its personnel.
However, upon closer look at the resolution, graft investigators found it as a salient the wording which reads that the sales commissions may only be granted to PTV 4 employees “who initiate marketing efforts and generate revenue for the network,” not to consultants like Luna.
“From the pieces of evidence available vis-à-vis the feeble justifications proffered by respondents, there is no doubt that Luna was not entitled to the disbursed amount of P13.83 million,” the ruling stated, which found probable cause on the two defendants.
The anti-graft agency added that despite Luna’s knowledge of the limitations of his contract, he still sought sales commissions regularly.
“[These] actions—in seeking sales commissions, signing disbursement vouchers and encashing checks—reveal a concerted effort with his co-respondent to defraud the government,” the Ombudsman ruled.
John Constantine G. Cordon