THE Commission on Audit has ordered Environment Secretary Regina Lopez to justify the hiring of 55 highly-paid “ghost employees” receiving up to P120,000 a month or more than twice the maximum salary rates “with no particular outputs, deliverables or services.”
Of the 55 consultants, 14 have claimed salaries amounting to P3.29 million without outputs and without proof that they reported for work, state auditors said in a memorandum to Lopez dated March 3, 2017.
In a 7-page Audit Observation Memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by Manila Standard, COA state auditors Aurora Caramat and Jesusa Gauang directed Lopez to submit her basis for the rates given to the contractuals and consultants.
“Of the 55 contracts of service [COS] hired by Lopez, six were contracted with salary exceeding the maximum salary rates, 11 for positions not listed in the same salary tables and 14 as consultants with no particular outputs, deliverables or services requiring highly specialized or technical expertise in the field of special knowledge or training,” the state auditors said.
The CoA said the contracts of the two technical assistants Sarah Jane Bulan and Celina Therese Rotea were given rates more than twice the rate as specified under the DENR memoranda at P57,500 each instead of the regular P15,000 a month.