Senate to trace P1.6B in unremitted GSIS premiums from ARMM employees
Region’s rank-and-file suffering from effects of ghost transactions, says DrilonBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao continues to be haunted by allegations of corruption through ghost employees, ghost beneficiaries and ghost government transactions, according to Senator Franklin Drilon.
For instance, Drilon said government employees’ contributions totaling P1.6 billion to insurance agencies, such as Government Service Insurance System, have remained unremitted to date, leaving the state workers unable to avail of the benefits they should get as members.
He said the funds were deducted from the salaries of ARMM employees but GSIS records showed that these weren’t remitted between 2001 and 2010.
“In ARMM, there are a lot of ghosts: ghost employees, ghost teachers, ghost students, ghost internally displaced persons, ghost voters, ghost contractors, ghost gasoline stations, and many more,” Drilon said, referring to fictitious and non-existing persons and transactions, which were used to cover up for various anomalies in the region.
“All of these contributed to the corruption in the past which continue to haunt people in the ARMM,” Drilon said.
The cases of corruption in the ARMM were reported to the Senate committee on finance by ARMM officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman during the presentation on Monday of the region’s proposed P13.99 billion budget for 2013.
“We must emphasize the deficiencies in premium contributions are the major source of continuing frustration and disappointment among government personnel including the thousands of teachers,” Drilon said.
“Thousands of teachers sometime could not avail of their GSIS benefits like housing and salary loans because the premiums were collected, but per GSIS record, were not remitted to the agency,” explained Drilon.
Drilon bared plans of the committee on finance and the Senate Blue Ribbon, chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, to investigate where these funds went.
“We will look into this to finally address the plight being faced by the thousands of government personnel in the ARMM,” Drilon said.
Drilon cited the efforts and the political will shown by Hataman to eliminate graft in the region.
“We have confidence in the leadership of Hataman. The OIC governor is our new ghost buster,” Drilon said. “We are pleased that under the leadership of Governor Hataman, these ghosts are starting to vanish and the corruption is being firmly addressed,” he added.