United Filipino Seafarers (UFS) President, Executive Editor and founder of Tinig ng Marino (TNM) filed Qualified Theft against former TNM Managing Editor Robert Rey Gambe.

In a complaint filed (case no. 23E-03944)  last May 3, 2012 at the Manila Regional trial Court, Ramirez said his TNM staff discovered the embezzlement last February when six advertisers reportedly made check payments to TNM instead of UFS, the publisher of the newspaper. After further investigation, Ramirez discovered Statement of Accounts (SOAs) he didn’t sign but bearing another signature over his printed name without his permission, and official receipts (ORs) under the name of Tinig ng Marino. The said receipts, however, were not the official receipts of the United Filipino Seafarers that were issued to the advertisers.

For the record, TNM has no separate bank account; it also has no separate SOAs and ORs under its name. Transactions made for TNM are all under United Filipino Seafarers. The TNM account with BPI Family Bank is unknown to UFS.

Ramirez said, the issuance of TNM SOA was without his prior consent or knowledge, neither did the UFS Board of Directors know about it or made a resolution to approve it making it unauthorized and illegal.

To further prove Gambe’s part in these illegal transactions, UFS executive secretary Jesalyn Willow and administrative staff Reynaldo Sto.Domingo discovered that the advertisers Gambe claimed to being given “free write-ups” were actually not free at all and were paid for by the advertisers. They also discovered that it was Gambe who talked to the advertisers and picked up the payments.

In his 9-page-letter addressed to UFS Board of Directors and to Engr. Ramirez, Rey Gambe himself admitted to opening the TNM bank account without the knowledge and approval of Ramirez and the UFS Board of Directors.

Gambe fakes accident, goes AWOL

In light of what happened, Ramirez called for an emergency meeting last February 23, 2012 with the UFS Board of Directors to give Gambe a chance to air his side.

However, in the afternoon of that day, several people from the maritime industry including Ramirez got a text from Gambe’s cellphone claiming an old woman picked it up after he was hit by a truck along Leveriza, Pasay City. The text also claimed that Gambe was in critical condition and was rushed in a nearby hospital.

Upon  receiving the message, Ramirez sent two UFS cadets to conduct an investigation where the supposed accident happened to validate the story. But the by-standers, vendor and every people they asked denied that such thing happened in that area in that particular time.

He also sent two cadets to Gambe’s residence but his wife refuted the alleged accident when she informed the cadets that Gambe was all right and was just passing the night in an undisclosed location in Manila.

Gambe himself later bragged about it in his letter saying his “text stunt” was done to get Ramirez’ head “go around in circles.”

In his letter sent several days later, he claimed that his “well-entrenched source” informed him of what was going to happen during the meeting so he opted not to go because unlike his vocal boss, he (Gambe) “tends to get physical” when angry.

Since that day, Gambe has remained AWOL.

Ramirez Vs Gambe

In a last ditch effort to save himself, Robert Rey Gambe wrote a 9-page-letter which he sent to the Board of Directors and to Engr. Nelson Ramirez accusing his boss of several things, from mishandling the union’s money to CBAs to defective computers and electric fans.

Gambe claimed he opened a separate account for TNM to save the newspaper from bankruptcy as it was being mishandled by Ramirez and his family. He also admitted to keep a secret account without the knowledge of Ramirez and the Board of Directors to have a “buffer fund”.

Ramirez for his part asks “Why is he complaining only now? Gambe has been with me for the last seven years. He never made any complaint about the funds. Much more, he never complained whenever he received extra income. He never complained when he asked me to fire another employee so that he could take his or her job to earn more.”

“For years, I have trusted Mr Gambe and have given him full reign of Tinig ng Marino. I always believed his reports. I have given him whatever he asked for only to be deceived and betrayed like this. “I have even endorsed him to the Board of Directors to become my successor!” lamented Engr. Ramirez.

According to Ramirez, what Gambe didn’t expect was the impact of the removal of his cohorts Maricar Songcayauon and Cherry Ann Oguez.

Until now Songcayauon and Oguez refuse to explain how those anomalous transactions were done.

“Whenever I ask Cherry about our financial status or for a report on accounting, Rey or Maricar would step in and divert the topic. It’s impossible for them not to know Gambe’s illegal activities because Jesalyn and Reynaldo discovered it after just a few weeks in office. Maricar and Cherry were my employees for several years!” explained Ramirez.

In his letter, Gambe claims he is only concerned at the staff of UFS and TNM that’s why he started “hiding” the newspaper’s money. He said he used the money to fix the printer and to buy an electric fan for the office. Recently, UFS discovered that Gambe has diverted hundreds of thousands from the payments of advertisers to his own bank account.

Gambe also talked about the legalities of what Ramirez has done when he started gathering evidences against him, preaching to his former boss that opening letters is a felony punishable by six to 12 months of imprisonment.  A comment which is so hilarious considering the various crimes that he had committed. If he believes that everything that he is doing is in accordance with the law, then he could have just simply faced the Board of Directors and explain his side.

In his letter, Gambe also challenged Ramirez to a vote of confidence from UFS members as well as the Board of Directors. “How can he impose vote of confidence when he is the one who is in hiding, Ramirez said.

“Gambe  started having delusions of grandeur when  I endorsed him to become one of the Board of Directors and National Secretary of the union. He forgot the fact that he was still just an employee of Tinig ng Marino. He also forgot that Tinig ng Marino has already been established 10 years  before he even applied for his job.

UFS and Tinig ng Marino started with just an empty carton in Luneta and before Gambe came seven years ago.   During that time, UFS and TNM have already been well established.

At present Mr. Gambe is claiming that he is the hero who saved UFS from bankruptcy by diverting the payments of the advertisers to the account which he opened without the knowledge of everybody.

Rey Gambe even had the guts to register Tinig ng Marino in the Department of Trade and Industry as his own newspaper with address in Quezon City.

The Board of Directors of UFS has authorized Ramirez to file several charges against Gambe for all the crimes he has committed when he was the managing editor of Tinig ng Marino.

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