De Lima and her P11.2-M pay as Justice secretary

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Emeterio Sd. Perez

LEILA Magistrado de Lima, a former Justice secretary and now a jailed senator, may be very rich. If not, then perhaps, she has saved her pays and perks as secretary of the Department of Justice under the administration of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd.

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Because of – again – either her wealth or her lifetime savings, she is able to tap the services of a battery of lawyers to defend her against accusations that she had engaged in the trade of illegal drugs inside the National Penitentiary.

This piece, though, is not about what de Lima and her defenders perceive as political persecution. Rather, Due Diligencer is presenting the numbers that may interest the public, especially the common Filipinos.

However, if the readers of The Manila Times would be interested to know more about the compensation of public servants, they have two sources of information. They only have to access www.coa.gov.ph to check the compensation of government officials. For the gap between the salaries that executives of private businesses receive and those of government officials, they can surf www.bir.gov.ph.

The website of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) provides the public only the amounts of taxes that the owners and executives of private companies paid in a given year. It is up to the public to make their own estimates by using the formula suggested by the BIR.

Incidentally, the latest posting on the websites of the Commission on Audit (COA) and of the BIR cover only 2015.

De Lima’s compensation

De Lima was justice secretary for 63.28 months, or 5.28 years. Translated, this means she was a member of the Aquino cabinet for five years, three months and 10.8 days. I hope my computations are correct.

Throughout the years that de Lima was Justice secretary, the government paid her P11,240,310, according to COA. This compensation translates to P177,404 a month.

Of the total, P5,368,541, or 47.762 percent, was her basic salary. This means that during the years that she was Justice secretary, the government spent an average of P84,731 a month.

If de Lima’s basic salary of more than P5 million in 63.36 months is equivalent to 47.762 percent of P11,240,310, her discretionary funds of P1,619,935 represents 14.412 percent.

By the way, Alberto C. Agra, who was Justice secretary for three months in 2010, received a total compensation of P452,582, or an average of P150,861 a month.

Annual pays
To give our readers an idea of the compensation of government officials, following are the data posted on COA’s website:

For six months in 2010 that de Lima was Justice secretary, she received a total compensation of P813,187.65 or P135,531 a month. The total included her basic salary of P416,748, or P69,125 a month, and a discretionary fund of P145,999.

In her first full year in office in 2011, she got P2,044,891, or P170,407 a month. The amount included her basic salary of P905,393 or P75,283 a month, and a discretionary fund of P292,000.

De Lima’s total compensation slightly dropped in 2012 to P2,036,750.93, of which P1,018,374 was her basic salary and P291,999 her discretionary fund.

She got a raise the following year, that is, in 2013 when the government paid her P2,188,170. Her basic pay also increased to P1,084,950 while her discretionary fund remained at P291,999.

By 2014, the government paid de Lima P2,249,757, of which P1,091,880 was her basic pay. The government increased her discretionary fund to P336,000.

In 2015, she held the justice portfolio only for 9.36 months, or nine months and 11 days. She was paid P1,907,552 during the period. This included her basic salary of P851,196 and discretionary fund of P261,935.

Explanatory notes
The public should read the postings on COA’s website. If they have extra hours at home, they may want to spend them accessing www.bir.gov.ph. The two websites would give the public, and the readers of The Manila Times, a glimpse of the big gap between the pays the government gives to civil servants, especially the top officials among them, and their counterparts in the private sector.

While COA lists only the compensation of top government officials, the BIR presents the income taxes of the highest paid executives who may be at the same time the owners and majority stockholders of their own companies.

It is unfortunate that BIR gives only the amounts of taxes paid by 500 highest income earners. I hope the BIR will report not only the income taxes due from these executives but also their taxable income. This way, the public will be educated on the computations of income taxes based on the list of top income taxpayers.

esdperez@gmail.com

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