MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim on Thursday had some choice words for his Vice-Mayor, Francisco Domagoso, after the latter switched sides and backed the expected mayoralty bid of former president Joseph Estrada.
Lim, who is set to run for re-election, said he has yet to decide on a running-mate. He said whoever is elected Manila vice-mayor in 2013 could be mayor by 2016.
“May mga nag–o-offer na. Tinitimbang ko mabuti kasi malas ako sa vice-mayor,” he told ANC’s “Headstart.”
The word war between Lim and Domagoso, more popularly known as actor Isko Moreno, has escalated recently after the vice-mayor joined the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino political party of Estrada in preparation for the 2013 election.
Lim refused to say that his coming electoral fight against Estrada would be the fight of his life. “Pangkaraniwan lang yan. Mas magaling na kalaban mo heavyweight kaysa sa flyweight,” he said.
In the interview, the Manila mayor said he believes Domagoso and the Manila City Council hired “ghost employees” after failing to produce data sheets on over 700 casual employees and researchers for the past year. He said the salaries of the contractual employees ranged from P8,000-P15,000 monthly.
Lim said he fired 770 employees from his own office after receiving a memo from the Commission on Audit, saying that the Manila City Hall had exceeded the ceiling for hiring personnel.
He said he fired an additional 715 employees hired by Domagoso and the City Council after the latter failed to produce personal data sheets for the employees. Twenty-eight of the employees later sued Lim for unjust dismissal.
Lim said he ordered all casual employees to show up and get salaries from the City Hall paymaster to ensure that there are no ghost employees. The vice-mayor later complied with his order for all city hall employees to submit personal data sheets before receiving their salaries.
“Definitely (he hired ghost employees). The COA is already asking for an investigation, asking for all these papers. Nagtuturuan na sila nasaan na yung mga papel,” he said.
He added: “Ang kataka-taka nga, bakit hindi papilahin sa paymaster para makita kung sino yung tumatanggap ng pera? This is the people's money. Bakit yung mga tao namin umaabot ng gabi sa pila para makuha ng sweldo.”
Lim said there is nothing personal in his recent tiff with the vice-mayor since he is merely complying with the COA order to cut staff. He said if he did not follow COA, then issuance of salaries would be disallowed.
“If that happens, I will be forced to reimburse and refund the money paid to them. That would be unfair,” he said.