What is it with executives of government- owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs)?
They seem to think that they can bleed their companies dry by giving themselves top pay and perks, besides fat bonuses, even when they underperform.
Most of the time, the abusive executives are mere appointees of an incumbent president. Of course, they make hay while the sun is shining because they know that in the case of the current president, the sun will set in 2016.
Recently, the public learned that executives of the Social Security System (SSS) as well as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) had received huge bonuses and allowances, even as their rank-and-file employees received either nothing, or pathetic pittances for all the hard work that they do.
The revelation came at the heels of news that SSS executives had given themselves bonuses of P1 million each after publicly patting themselves in the back and congratulating each other for a job well done. What they really accomplished was nothing more than force members to raise their monthly contributions.
But what is happening at the water agency is worse.
In the case of the MWSS, union members of the agency have complained of non-stop harassment by the System’s board after employees filed 11 graft charges against MWSS Administrator Gerardo Esquivel before the Ombudsman.
The MWSS Labor Association accused Esquivel of violating Commission on Audit (COA) and Civil Service rules after hiring 47 consultants, most of whom are reportedly non-existent or “ghost employees” since 2011.
The hiring of consultants, which COA says was illegal and redundant since they perform the same functions as those of regular rank-and-file employees, cost the MWSS more than P88 million.
The Coalition of Filipino Consumers, an umbrella organization of five urban poor groups, has urged President Benigno Aquino 3rd to immediately fire Esquivel, as well as MWSS regulator Emmanuel Caparas and his deputy, Vince Yambao.
There’s just one catch. Esquivel is reportedly a bosom buddy of the president.
Esquivel receives more than P350,000 a month in allowances alone. That’s more than the annual salary of a typical call center agent, who is already perceived as being generally well paid.
Caparas and Yambao, meanwhile, recently received P500,000 each as bonuses inspite of the low financial performance of the MWSS.
Yambao, a former lawyer of the UP Law Center, was reportedly backed by presidential legal counsel Raul Creencia and a senator. A Union official source says that Yambao is behind moves to shake down water firms by using his contacts with the leftist movement.
Union sources say Yambao and Caparas are being used by the MWSS board as hatchet men. They are the ones implementing an illegal reorganization order. The order is being used to re-assign certain employees of the agency shortly after the MWSS Labor Association filed the graft cases against Esquivel.
“Reorganization” is a common tactic employed by unscrupulous executives and companies to put troublesome employees in their place.
Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte recently challenged the public to scrutinize the official acts of executives of GOCCs. The public does not have to look far and wide. Take a good hard look at what the MWSS executives have done and continue to do.
Daang matuwid is beginning to sound like a cruel joke…