"We are not ghost employees. We are real."
This was the statement of consultants of former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez amid allegations that they were "ghost employees."
"I make 50,000 net. I personally feel sometimes it's not enough because the work is very demanding... I mean being on-call 24/7," said Celina Therese Rotea, technical assistant of Lopez, in an interview with Tina Panganiban-Perez on "24 Oras", Friday.
"Iba rin 'yung task ko katulad sa iba. I'm more on the accounts, finance... so somebody she can trust. I'm not a ghost, I'm alive," said Sarah Jane Bulan, another employee.
A Manila Standard article mentioned Rotea and Bulan who were supposedly compensated with P57,500 every month, which was higher than the regular salary of P15,000.
The article was based on an audit observation memorandum of the Commission on Appointments (CA), noting that the said employees had no expertise.
Another employee of Lopez slammed the accusation.
"Ano 'yun joke? We work everyday, hindi kami nakakaattend ng family gatherings, kumakain kami kailangan namin mag-support kay Secretary, kailangan namin pumunta ng ganito, kailangan namin gawin 'yung mga ganitong work sa office tapos ghost? We leave the office at 9, 10 tapos ghost?" said Patricia Vargas, Lopez's special assistant.
Lopez also hit out at the allegations.
"I totally do not agree with that statement. A ghost employee means you're paying and they're not doing anything. What we have rather in DENR is people from before being paid and I have no idea what they're doing," Lopez said. "I also needed an action team that would go out and make things happen. Those human resource skills were not available in DENR.
"The ones I think who are overpaid are people in DENR who are not doing anything and there are many of them. I didn't hire them," she added.
Lopez’s nomination was rejected by the CA on Wednesday
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