SOME Filipinos may be more financially blessed than most. But they could not be faulted for their wealth because they worked hard to achieve success and continue working to maintain it. Besides, most of the highest paid executives of listed companies, for example, are majority stockholders that control group of companies and conglomerates or are heirs to a family fortune.
In the government, a few may be better paid than others for making their turfs profitable although some, if not many of them, were—and still are—ins government, thanks to their political patrons.
It could have been easy to identify those who deserve to be in public service and those who don’t. A few pieces ago, Due Diligencer requested Commissioner Kim Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to also publish the taxes paid by government executives and not persist on picking on private sector executives in her disclosure of tax payments.
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Since the request remained unanswered, Due Diligencer did some research, which was easy to do, and came out with three government executives, who topped the 2012 highest-paid list posted on the website of the Commission on Audit. They were as follows:
Robert Vergara, president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, was the best paid government executives in 2012 with total compensation of P16.365 million—basic, P9.653 million—followed by Ma. Theresa Quirino, a senior vice president of the Development Bank of the Philippines, with P13.767 million—basic, P3.447 million. Amando Tetangco Jr., governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, was at No. 3 with P9.759 million—basic, P5.40 million. The rest could be classified as additional pays and perks, among which were bonuses and incentives.
Incidentally, the individual compensation of Vergara, Quirino and Tetangco paled in comparison with that of their counterparts in the private sector. One example is Manuel Pangilinan, who heads a conglomerate that includes Manila Electric Co. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. He paid P24.7 million in taxes in 2012, according to BIR. So far, that’s the known number and a series of computations—not by Due Diligencer but by somebody else—resulted in MVP’s taxable income of P77.297 million divided by 12 months equals P6.441 million per month divided by 30 days equals P214,7123.889 per day.
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It is not only in the private sector that wide gap exists between the rich or powerful, and the poor. This time, it is not compensation but political power the value of which could not be quantified. But if one were to look at how certain elected leaders use it, its value could only be described as awesome.
To illustrate power and the use—or abuse of it, let us not forget the Binays of Makati City. They were the legacy of the late President Corazon C. Aquino to the Zobels and her gift to the city’s informal settlers. Recently the son, who is the mayor, tried to force his will on an exclusive subdivision in the city, which the Binays probably consider their personal kingdom.
Of course the city mayor only wanted to leave the village through a gate that was already closed at 10 p.m. Per homeowners’ policy, nobody is exempted from the rule.
No way, argued the Binays, who demanded respect as if the village residents were the illegal setters like the squatters in some parts of Makati City, who take pride in the older Binay sharing morning coffee with them, a political gesture that was enough to win their votes. Certainly, these squatters, a politically wrong word, never pay rent that if the lots they occupy are privately owned, the poor owners are forced to shoulder the real estate taxes to keep intact their ownership of the property.
With such use—or abuse—of power by a Binay the mayor and the family’s toleration of him, Filipinos should wait until the father becomes or is elected president.
Incidentally, after 27 years as the lords of Makati, which became a city in 1995, the Binays have illustrated well their perpetuity in power but have not shown anything much to show in terms of development on which the city government spent the taxes paid by the Ayala group of companies owned by the Ayalas and other conglomerates based in the city.
Is it ironic that if Makati City is rich and in fact it is very rich, why would the Rotarians adopt certain barangays for their development projects?