PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez divulged to The Manila Times on Tuesday that a PSC employee had allegedly been involved in “payroll padding” for the past five years.
Fernandez, a four-time Most Valuable Player in the Philippine Basketball Association, identified the suspect as Paul Michael Padua Ignacio, who had been employed by the government sports agency as a staff member in charge of the payroll register for national athletes and coaches since 2011.
“We have sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation on the matter. So, we cannot comment further. Suffice it to say that there were red flags, which alerted us, and so, we acted accordingly,” he said in a statement sent to the media.
“We hope that we can get to the truth and bring the accountable to justice swiftly. The PSC will never waver in its duty to protect the interest of its stakeholders and the Filipino people,” said Fernandez, adding that Ignacio’s case is now being examined by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
When asked if Ignacio had any alibi for the supposed misappropriation of funds, Fernandez replied, “How can he not be guilty? He deposited it to his account.”
Based on the initial findings and the complaint submitted by the PSC to the NBI, PSC Executive Director Merlita Ibay discovered that Ignacio’s payroll account number had been placed under the names of unqualified athletes and of coaches who were no longer connected to the PSC.
According to a letter addressed to NBI OIC Director Eric Distor, LandBank Century Park branch Assistant Vice President Marietta Cabusao informed the PSC on July 7 about a large, dubious cash transaction, involving Igancio’s account that was already under observation for previous such transactions.
PSC Deputy Director Guillermo Iroy said the suspect could be charged with the cybercrimes of falsification of public documents and qualified theft for allegedly having been padding the payroll since 2015, during the term of former PSC chairman Richie Garcia, and purportedly amassing around P14 million.
“Unbailable will be the case that the NBI will file against him. Yes, it was since 2015. So, the investigation will be expanded,” disclosed Iroy to The Manila Times in an online interview.