PSC coordinating with NBI to probe 'payroll padding' scheme

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 02:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Wednesday said it is waiting for the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding the alleged "payroll padding" scheme uncovered in the agency.

PSC officer-in-charge Ramon Fernandez said the agency "acted accordingly" after being alerted of "red flags" by Land Bank of the Philippines.

"Sa sistema ng bank kasi, meron silang red flags na tinatawag. When they saw that there was too much money already being transferred to his bank account, and money withdrawn from his account, considering his employment status with the PSC, he was getting so much money, red flag 'yan," Fernandez said in a press conference Wednesday

"We wrote to seek the assistance of the NBI," he said. "We would like to thank the NBI for acting very swiftly. We're just awaiting the result of their inquest, magkakaroon ng inquest today. We're waiting for the results of their investigation."

An employee in the PSC's personnel department allegedly ran the payroll padding scheme.

According to Fernandez, it was discovered that the employee, who was in charge of preparing the payroll for national athletes and coaches before submitting it to the bank, would add names of athletes and coaches who were no longer included in the PSC's list.

Fernandez said they believe the scheme has been going on since 2015.

"Just like any story about this, greed came in. In the beginning I suppose paisa-isa lang ang pinapasok niya but lumaki ng lumaki," he said. "Hindi niya alam na may mga red flags ang mga bangko."

The PSC is now coordinating with the NBI to determine if the employee was working alone or if there were co-conspirators. 

"We want to get to the bottom of this," Fernandez said. "There will be no stone left unturned."

Fernandez said the discovery of the payroll padding scheme was painful for him personally, especially as the PSC had been forced to slash the allowances of national athletes and coaches in half due to budget concerns. 

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the agency's budget had been re-routed, and the money they receive from PAGCOR has dwindled considerably as casinos and gaming operations remain closed.

"Nagtitipid (kami), kinausap namin ang mga atleta. Ginamit ng national government natin ang funds to fight the COVID-19, and ito ang mangyayari. Napaksakit, siyempre," Fernandez said. "But as I said, buti na-discover na kaagad ito."

"We're not glad that this happened, but we're glad that we discovered it. Everybody in our organization should be mindful of incidents like this," he also said.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).