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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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Mass vote buying – 6


I suspended this series for a week just to accommodate Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. since he said he would answer me at the end of the series. Once again he chose to refrain from sending his reply as he said he would. So I shall continue.

But let me just recap the issue that personally involves Gamboa. One of the claims that embroil the administration of suspended Mayor Monico Puentevella involves a system of massive voting-buying, one of these being similar to the charge against Gamboa. The one linked to Gamboa is not of the massive scale but, taken in conjunction with the others, it becomes a clear example, a small portion of the whole. His intent to defend himself, in effect, also attempts to help his party parry the issue.

Actually the material that directly concerns Gamboa was the claim in a radio station that he signed the Daily Time Record of a person that he said he had already terminated. His signature enabled this person to get a salary that technically then (believing Gamboa) she does not deserve. That would have been understandable except that this person claimed Gamboa gave her less than half of what she said she signed for in the payroll.

Gamboa claims this girl was no longer in his employ as a job order casual. So the question arose: why did he sign the DTR that certifies that she rendered work when Gamboa knew she did not? Did not Gamboa then falsify the validity of the DTR? This act of certifying the contents of the DTR to be true when one knew fully well that it was not true, does this not constitute a crime?

In defense Gamboa said he followed the advice of the Office of the Vice Mayor to just allow this girl to remain on the payroll as her replacement would interrupt the processing time and force delay in payment of the December salary and the bonus and gifts.

Thus Gamboa claimed he did what he did for “good intentions.” Let us grant him that, but is this a defense when it involves falsifying a public document? Indeed the truism that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” remains valid and for those “good intentions” Gamboa finds himself on this road. If those who exposed this case will file a charge, then Gamboa will have a hell to work for to extricate from this way to political Hades.

Let us leave him then and since he decided to keep silent, let us also respect that decision. But I close this chance for him as we have other issues that need our attention. After all, Gamboa has a chance to clear his name, if not in the bar of public opinion, in the bar of the law.

I am not aware of the extent of the work being done by a group to bring to court the cases of several hundred job order casuals that were included in the city payrolls in November and December 2015 that had as of today, failed to present their persons to the City Cashier to draw their salaries. After so many calls for them to appear, they still have not done so and we can only conclude that they do not exist. Some were actually identified by friends and neighbors, but they did not claim their salaries.

There must be fear on their part that in coming forward to claim their pay and this fear can only be explained that they actually do not deserve their salaries.

One subject that the radio commentators have not touched is the names of the department heads or supervisors who signed their DTR and certified that they performed work.

The Commission on Audit and the takeover by Acting Mayor Greg Gasataya bared them. I mentioned some, thus it is no longer necessary to repeat them here. What we can expect, however, is that they will be included in the case that will be filed. Indeed the mass vote buying cannot have prospered for over two years without the knowledge and consent of these department heads and supervisors.

The expose of this operation has thrown a monkey wrench on the system. It is possible that when or if ever Puentevella resumes his post, this system might return. If it does, at least the operation has been unmasked and they can resume their work only at their worst peril.*



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