The Senate finance committee raked officials of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) over hot coals in 2010 for violations of several laws in granting themselves excessive bonuses.
MWSS top honchos, according to the Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) have changed—not for the better; just a pack of “new canines with the same collar.”
WARM points out that the water agency now headed by Ramon Alikpala as board chairman and Gerardo Esquivel as vice-chair with five other board members had approved an MWSS board resolution awarding themselves last month a so-called Interim Performance-Based Incentive (IPBI) worth P1.7 million.
A copy of the said board resolution provided by WARM indicated that the amount be given to ‘eligible Appointive Members of the Governing Board of the MWSS.
“Tinanggal na ang sa mga manggagawa dahil nga sa iskandalong inabot noon hanggang sa makarating sa Senado, inulit pa ng mga pumalit na opisyal [The bonuses for workers were dropped because of the scandal that has prompted a Senate probe, but the replacement officials also did what their predecessors did], “ Rodolfo “RJ” Javellana, WARM president said.
The same board resolution penned on June 6 signed by Alikpala, Esquivel and five board members Raoul Crencia, Jose Ramon Villarin, Emmanuel Caparas, Ma. Cecilia Soriano and Benjamin Yamabao, allowed MWSS that “the funds for the grant of the IPBI for the Appointive Members of the Board of GOCC shall be charged against their respective corporate funds.”
Then Senate Finance Committee Chair Frank Drilon said revelations at the hearing showed a classic case of conflict of interest in this practice.
Very striking, he said, is that board members decide among themselves the amount of their compensation package.
Moreover, their excessive salaries, allowances and bonuses are in clear violation of Memorandum Order 20 of then former President Gloria Arroyo that states that wages of GOCC executives should not be more than twice higher than those of Cabinet secretaries.
However, no one could remember if that Senate hearing have sent to jail or caused the filing of charges of corruption against former MWSS officials according to Javellana.
”Ni hindi nga nabanggit ng Pangulo sa kanyang SONA ang mga rebelasyon nating sobrang mga koleksiyon ng dalawang concessionaires ng MWSS bagkus ipinagyabang pa na nakapagremit daw ng P2 bilyon ang ahensiya sa ating national treasury eh saan ba galing talaga ‘yun? ‘Di ba sa utang? [The President never bothered to mention in his SONA the revelations about the two MWSS concessionaires’ excessive collections, instead he boasted that the water agency remitted P2 billion to the national treasury, eh, where did that really come from? Did it not come from borrowings?]” Javellana explained.
He added that the new bonuses created by the present MWSS officials must also be investigated.