RECENTLY rocked by a payroll scam, the Philippine Sports Commission announced on Wednesday that it would employ an organizational revamp.
PSC Chairman William Ramirez, who was back at the PSC helm after a month-long leave to attend to personal matters, said the revamp was just the start of “a plan to re-stabilize the organization.”
Part of the revamp is the appointment of Atty. Guillermo Iroy, Jr. as acting Executive Director in place of Merlita Ibay, who resumes her position as Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Administrative Services, her original appointment before being tapped to take on the acting executive director role. Queenie Evangelista, meanwhile, will lead the Bureau of Coordinating Secretariat and Support Services as its acting deputy executive director.
The setting of order comes on the heels of the uncovering of fraudulent actions of one of its employees, Paul Michael Padua Ignacio of the PSC’s Personnel Department, who was arrested last week for allegedly engaging, the sports agency said, in a payroll padding scam.
According to the PSC’s letter to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Mr. Ignacio, who is in charge of preparing the payroll register of national athletes and coaches, included in the list even the names of athletes and coaches who were no longer qualified to receive their monthly allowances and channelling the allowance money to his account.
The modus was reportedly being done for the last five years and cost the government P14 million.
Mr. Ignacio is now in the custody of the NBI and said to be cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
The Land Bank of the Philippines-Century Park Hotel branch reported the questionable transactions to the PSC, prompting the latter to take action and seek the help of pertinent government agencies in the investigation.
In a statement, Mr. Ramirez said they are taking the matter seriously as it goes against everything they envision the PSC would be under their watch.
“As the highest accountable official of the agency, I take responsibility to effect changes, to make sure that there are no gaps in the organization. I feel sad, frustrated, and hurt but we all have to have composure,” said Ramirez, adding that he hopes all stakeholders and partners “are at peace with these decisions and continue to support us through this.”
The PSC is working closely with the NBI, Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General to bring those accountable to justice and possibly return the money lost. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo