IF efficiency of public service were to be measured by the number of officials who receive millions in annual compensation, then the Aquino administration would top all previous presidencies.
But sad to say, this is not the case.
While President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd, in the early days of his six-year term, exposed the alleged excesses of officials of the previous Macapagal-Arroyo administration, the reports of the Commission on Audit tell a different story.
In contrast to Aquino’s negative presentation, which appeared to have been intended only for media consumption, the numbers COA recently posted on its website showed the worsening excesses of government executives in the last four years.
Try surfing www.coa.gov.ph and you would know what today’s Due Diligencer is all about.
But please don’t be too harsh in prejudging the Cojuangco-Aquino anointed officials. Don’t they deserve much more for giving up the pay and perks they used to enjoy while still in the employ of private companies?
Due Diligencer, though, cannot say the same for retirees from conglomerates such as the Ayala group that is controlled by the Zobel family but have been tapped by the present administration to help him chart his “Tuwid na Daan”, which could only be a rhetoric of Malacanan’s chief temporary occupant.
If Aquino has read the COA report, what could he be thinking after going over the salaries of government executives that he has appointed to watch over their respective turfs? He could be disappointed for receiving much less than his appointees to government-owned corporations.
Now the numbers: In 2013, of the government’s 8,190 officials covered by the COA audit, 2,241, or 27.363 percent received million-peso salaries. The number was up from 774 in 2010 which, in turn, was up from 552 in 2009, the last full year of the previous presidency.
Based on the number of million-peso-compensated officials collated by COA, it is up to the public to judge whose administration had more excesses: Was it the Macapagal-Arroyo or the Cojuangco-Aquino administration?
To elaborate, Due Diligencer is citing some examples, excluding Robert G. Vergara, general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, who has been well-covered in previous pieces.
How about Emilio de Quiros Jr.?
Why not? After all, De Quiros had justified his compensation by the increase in the revenues generated by the Social Security System of which he is the Cojuangco-Aquino anointed administrator.
In 2013, De Quiros was ranked No. 14 among the millionaires for his annual pay and perks of P7,080,210, up by 62.846 percent which, in money terms, was equivalent to P2,732,419 from P4,347,791 the previous year. His gross pay in 2013 included his basic salary of P1.20 million. The remaining P5.90 million was classified as pay and perks, the biggest of which was his yearly allowance of P3,410,648.
In 2011, SSS paid De Quiros P2,963,153, which went up 46.728 percent to P4,347,791 in 2012. That’s a huge increase of P1,384,638!
From 2011 to 2013, if De Quiros’ basic salary was unchanged at P1.20 million, the same basic salary that his predecessor used to receive, then SSS had other accounting entries to go around the rule. Why not raise his “other” pay and perks?
Presumably, because he has been doing great as SSS head, he was entitled to annual pay increases as incentives for him to stay on as SSS chief until June 30, 2016, when his patron would have ended his six-year term.
Was De Quiros well-paid then?
Compared with the compensation of Romulo Neri, who was SSS chief during the previous Macapagal-Arroyo administration, De Quiros is perhaps more blessed than others. Neri’s last full year as SSS head was 2009 when his remuneration amounted to P3,064,839, of which P1.20 million was his basic salary.
Here is another example of the alleged “excesses” of the Macapagal-Arroyo presidency. This time, Due Diligencer is reviewing the pay and perks of certain officers of the Development Bank of the Philippines. From the amounts credited to them, the Aquino appointees may feel underpaid, perhaps believing that they deserved more because of inflation.
• In 2013, Jose Nunez, for instance, received only P3.072 million as chairman of the board, a big jump from P1,680,215 in 2012. Patricia Sto. Tomas, his predecessor, received P2,330,142 in 2009.
• Francisco del Rosario, DBP president and chief executive officer, got P5,505,834
in 2011 and P6,480,118 for nine months in 2012. Gil A. Buenaventura, his successor, received P5,160,626 in 2013.
• Reynaldo T. David, who was DBP president under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, was paid P3,605,725 in 2009; and P1,531,302 for six months in 2010.
The numbers, which were lifted from COA reports, do not need any kind of interpretation. The story behind them cannot be changed by rationalization whether by appeal to reason or to emotion.
But there is one thing that could alter the numbers: Lie about them.