INSIDERS’TRADES. As of October 16, Elpidio Laureano Ibanez, a member of the board of First Gen Corp., owned 1.90 million shares with market value of P30.40 million, after selling 39,200 shares at P16 each . . . On October 17, Ismael G. Estela Jr., senior vice president of BDO Unibank Inc., sold 10,000 shares at P81.05 each . . .
On October 11, Antonio Chua Poe Eng, a member of the board of Jollibee Foods Corp. sold 10,000 shares at P176.40 each and 1,320 shares at P176.80 each. After the sale, he still owned 236,935 JFC shares held by Honeyworth Corp.
SSS financials. The Social Security System reported total revenues of P128.10 billion in 2012 consisting of P94.209 billion in members’ contribution and P33.891billion in investment and other income.
Of its total revenues, SSS paid P84.173 billion, or 65.71 percent, in benefit payments and spent P7.726 billion, or 6.06 percent, for operations. Minus these expenses, it had an excess of P36.201 billion, an amount that Emilio De Quiros Jr., SSS president and chief executive officer, is probably proud of.
For his successfully charting SSS revenue growth and profitability, De Quiros even earned praise from President Aquino, who, in 2012, rewarded him and SSS’s employees P10,000 bonus each, which could amount to P30 million. The question that begs for answer is where the money came from. Was it sourced from SSS funds?
Heavy selling. Did SSS under De Quiros achieve for SSS such huge revenues as a result of the sale of two of the stocks in which the private workers’ funds have been heavily invested?
If so, then he, along with his fellow managers should tell SSS members which of the listed stocks they unloaded, detailing the acquisition costs of these stocks? Have these stocks been accumulated during their watch or have been piled up by SSS’s previous management.
If the Commission on Audit has been very vocal against the sale by SSS and by the Development Bank of the Philippines of shares in Manila Electric Co., it has been surprisingly silent on the former’s sale of SSS-owned shares in Philex Mining Corp. and Union Bank of the Philippines.
Will COA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan be willing to audit her fellow presidential appointee?
The numbers. While SSS members are waiting for De Quiros to explain SSS’s investments and profitability, Due Diligencer did some computations on the funds’ investments on two listed stocks—Philex Mining Corp. and Union Bank of the Philippines.
As of Dec. 31, 2011. SSS owned 1.93 billion Philex shares. By September 30, 2013, its holdings dropped to 1.01 billion shares. This meant in less than two years, it sold 913.27 million shares, which when computed at latest high of P10.24 equals P9.35 billion.
Union Bank is another listed stock in which SSS has long been a significant stockholder. As of December 31, 2011, it owned 137.064 million of the bank’s shares, or 21.37 percent. Its holdings in the bank dropped to 102.988 million shares, or 16.06 percent, or by 37.076 million shares, with present market value of P4.32 billion.
Paging COA. Sometime last year, President Aquino, who is known for his generosity of other people’s money, rewarded SSS executives and employees with P10,000 bonus each in recognition for the funds’ 11.8 percent increase in net income to P25.5-billion in 2011.
As media reported, the President approved the bonus but did not say where the money would come from. Will it be sourced from the contributions of SSS members? If so, then Mr. Aquino and his advisers failed to appreciate a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2002 that affirmed the disallowance by the Commission on Audit of the P5,000 signing bonus of SSS collective negotiations agreement.
“The funds contributed to the Social Security System [SSS],” the High Court said, “are not only imbued with public interest, they are part and parcel of the fruits of the workers’ labors pooled into one enormous trust fund under the administration of the System designed to insure against the vicissitudes and hazards of their working lives. In a very real sense, the trust funds are the workers’ property which they could turn to when necessity beckons and are thus more personal to them than the taxes they pay. It is therefore only fair and proper that charges against the trust fund be strictly scrutinized for every lawful and judicious opportunity to keep it intact and viable in the interest of enhancing the welfare of their true and ultimate beneficiaries.”
Many thanks. I thank those who emailed their reactions to the story of my detention condemning the two security guards of the Sta. Rosa City outlet of HMR Philippines Inc. who accused me of stealing two items worth P35. I want them to know that I am considering their suggestions and I have been reading documents which I have gathered about HMR Philippines from official sources since October 10, 2013.
Since my story appeared on October 14, I continue to receive emails of sympathy from readers of The Manila Times. One even narrated a similar experience; another wrote that she had to watch her little children closely fearing they might take items without her knowledge and be accused of shop lifting by security guards who are trained more to force their “victims” into confessing to a crime or crimes they did not commit.