THE STATE television hired more than 500 contract workers in violation of a Civil Service Commission memo, according to a senator.

Under the memo, contract workers may only be hired for special projects, Senator Franklin M. Drilon told a budget hearing on Monday.

The People’s Television Network (PTV 4) has hired 534 contract workers this year, General Manager Katherine C. de Castro told the hearing, adding that she was not aware of the government circular.

She also said the network needed technical assistants for its operations.

“You are not aware of it, that’s why you just keep on hiring contract of service personnel in total disregard of the circular,” Mr. Drilon said. He added that the circular seeks to limit the bureaucracy, which “can invent one thousand reasons why they need additional personnel.”

The Senate committee also questioned the alleged underpayment by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, which operates PTV, of its 1, 479 contract workers.

Senator Richard J. Gordon said he would not sponsor the agency’s budget on the floor unless officials come up with a satisfactory explanation. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan