EXECUTIVES of state-run agencies who reportedly got fat bonuses and per diems should explain how they arrived at such computation and justify if they, indeed, deserve such benefits, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said officials of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) have the obligation to explain any adverse findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) with regards to their salaries and benefits.
“It is the duty of any official to explain these findings which may indicate that there had been a violation of existing rules,” Coloma said.
He was reacting to reports that top officials from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Social Security System (SSS) got perks running in the millions, apparently in violation of the P3 million ceiling on GOCC officials’ benefits.
COA records and GSIS insiders showed that the highest paid official is GSIS President Robert Vergara, who is reportedly the President’s classmate at the Ateneo de Manila University.
COA reports indicated that Vergara was paid by the GSIS nearly P36 million in the last three years—P25 million in 2011 and 2012. GSIS sources claimed that Vergara got P12 million in 2013.
SSS executives also got huge perks after its chairman, Juan B. Santos, pushed for the approval of resolutions that authorized bonuses that entitled each director to earnings of P4 million in the past three years.
These officials are also receiving additional income from various private institutions where they also sit as Board directors.
But Coloma said the Governance Commission on GOCC (GCG) has mapped out a new compensation plan that will eventually slash the huge take of these executives.
The new compensation package, expected to be implemented “the soonest possible time”, will apply to new appointees in GOCCs.
Nevertheless, Coloma said Vergara and others must respond to criticisms being hurled at them.
“The official concerned must answer and the GCG should determine whether these officials are performing their job to the letter and abide by all laws and regulations. [GCG] uses the fit and proper rule. They review annually their performance because they are subject to renewal of appointment. The basis of renewal is the fit and proper rule,” the Palace official explained.
“Do they deserve and are they fit [for the job]? Do they follow the law and the Civil Service rules? … Pertaining to that specific case, there are procedures for dealing with that, and most certainly, the official that you mentioned has the responsibility to explain fully because he [Vergara] has public accountability,” Coloma stressed.
In an interview with The Manila Times also on Thursday, GCG Commissioner Rainier Butalid said the GSIS chief did not violate the P3 million cap because the rule applies only to directors.
“The GM [general manager]has separate renumeration for being CEO [chief executive officer]as well as arrears and performance bonus,” Butalid said.
In the case of Vergara, he explained that the amount he got “include salaries of the GM as CEO of GSIS.”
“It, in fact, also included arrears which were not given him previously. So the GM’s compensation is actually his salary as CEO as well as arrears and performance based bonus,” Butalid pointed out.
He noted that the figures reported by the COA “covered arrears in previous years.”