Masbate employees may have to return fat bonuses


MASBATE CITY—Last December, about 900 employees of the provincial government of Masbate had reason to have an abundant holiday when each of them received P41,000 as a Christmas bonus.

Now, the employees are anxious they may have to return the bonus because top Masbate officials have found that their benevolence has landed them in hot water.

The officials were accused of dishonesty and graft and corruption for realigning P42.17 million in personnel services savings into “productivity enhancement incentives” or bonuses.

Unlike in the Senate, which enjoys a constitutionally guaranteed fiscal autonomy that allows Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to realign savings of the chamber, like giving P1.6 million in “bonus” to each of the 18 senators, there is no such luck for local government units.

Senators can even liquidate through a mere certification funds drawn from excess maintenance and other operating expenses. With the certification, the Commission on Audit (COA) is barred from examining how the funds were used.

Local chief executives—governors or mayors—cannot use savings unless authorized by the provincial board through a realignment ordinance that will have to be approved by the majority of its members.

‘Absence’ of quorum

In Masbate’s case, however, the realignment ordinance was being questioned, as it was approved allegedly in the absence of a quorum.

The accused officials were Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Vice Gov. Vicente Homer Revil and Provincial Board Members Alfredo Alim, Juan P. Sanchez Sr., Albert Vincent Chu, Hamilcar Arregadas II, Ricar Vasquez and Liga ng Barangay representative to the board Manuel Hermosa.

Complaint in Ombudsman

Sandra Cam, president of the Whistleblowers’ Association of the Philippines, filed complaints in the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the President on Jan. 14 against Revil and the six provincial board members.

Cam said the vice governor and the board members held a session on Dec. 10 despite the absence of a quorum and passed a resolution and subsequent ordinance approving the realignment of funds.

She said Lanete was also liable for implementing a faulty ordinance.

‘Illegal disbursement’

“Such illegal disbursement certainly has caused undue injury to the provincial government,” said Cam, a native of Batuan town in Ticao Island in Masbate, who furnished the Inquirer a copy of the complaint.

Cam said there was no quorum as only seven, including the vice governor, were present during the Dec. 10 session.

Masbate, being a first-class province, has a 14-member  legislative body: the vice governor, as presiding officer, and 13 provincial board members—10 elected and three ex-officio members represented by the presidents of the provincial Liga ng mga Barangays, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and the municipal councilors’ federation.

“And yet these seven members in attendance were deemed as constituting a quorum… The truth, however, is that the respondent [board] members, being only seven in number, did not legally constitute a quorum,” Cam said.

She said the declaration of a quorum during the session was not only gross dishonesty but also grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority and an act prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

“This is so because the seven members present, out of 14 members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, can never be considered a quorum because a quorum is constituted by the majority of the entire membership of the [provincial board] who had been elected and qualified,” Cam said.

Local Government Code

The head of the whistleblowers’ group said that under the Local Government Code of 1991, eight, not seven, members for the provincial board constituted a quorum.

She cited a resolution by the provincial board of Compostela Valley in 2004 that authorized the governor to enter into a construction contract with a certain company.

Cam said only seven members of the provincial board passed the resolution and it was struck down by the Supreme Court, which declared the measure null and void because the board had no authority to pass it in the absence of a quorum.

Revil, in an interview with the Inquirer, insisted there was a quorum during the Dec. 10 session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Angelo Reyes opinion

He said the basis for declaring a quorum was an opinion made by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for Eulalia Talaran, provincial accountant of Catanduanes, and duly signed by then Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes on Feb. 10, 2005.

The opinion of the DILG referred to a budget ordinance passed and approved by only four members of the provincial board of Catanduanes through a special session on March 2004.

During the 2004 special session of the provincial board of Catanduanes, eight members were in Manila—without travel orders—for a luncheon meeting with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Henceforth, if we were to apply Supreme Court doctrines to the instant case, it would seem that the effective absence of the eight [board] members would result in their exclusion in the determination of a quorum,” said Reyes in the DILG opinion.

Only 3 effectively absent

While it was true that six members of the provincial board were not present during the deliberation, three of them—John Henry Naga, SK chair Jeralph C. Sanchez and Enrique Legaspi—were considered “effectively absent” during the Dec. 10 session, in which the realignment of savings for the bonuses of employees were passed.

“Naga and Legaspi were in Manila while Sanchez was in Cebu without travel orders,” he said.

Thus, Revil said, only three other board members—Julius Tuason, Cherry Abapo and municipal councilors league president Alberto Abayon—who were not present during the session, should be counted as absent.

With the “effective absence” of Naga, Legaspi and Sanchez, there was still a quorum despite the absence of Tuason, Sanchez and Abayon, according to Revil.

He said the exclusion of three board members would still make 11 the total members of the provincial board at the time, despite the absence of the three other members.

“There were six board members in addition to me. So we were 7 in all,” he said.

Revil said the council passed the resolution and ordinance legally and in good faith.

“When we passed the ordinance, we were confident that we were on the side of the law inasmuch as we wanted to give bonuses to our employees in the spirit of Christmas,” he said.

Revil accused Cam of forum shopping when she filed two separate cases with the same form and substance in two separate entities.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to reach Lanete for her side but she declined to comment.


But Jose Tamayo Jr., provincial administrator, told the Inquirer that the governor’s action was ministerial when she implemented the ordinance and that she had full trust in the wisdom of the provincial board.

“It’s just political harassment against the governor hurled by her opponents,” Tamayo said.

In a letter to the committee on appropriations of the provincial board, Nilda Tinegra, provincial treasurer, said only P36,600,700 were actually disbursed for the bonuses of employees.


Last month, when the unequal gifts and bonuses that Enrile had given to two groups of senators came to light, former National Treasurer Leonor Briones said the constitutional provision granting fiscal autonomy to certain bodies created inequity.

“In government itself, you don’t have uniformity and equality,” Briones was quoted as saying.

A senator is free to do what he wishes with a P1.6-million bonus from the Senate’s savings but a clerk at the Department of Agriculture will be asked to refund any bonus from his agency’s savings, she said.

It was also reported that employees in the National Housing Authority and other state corporations were grumbling that they were being asked to return bonuses they had received in the past.


They said those retiring were facing the prospect of deductions from their retirement pay if they did not reimburse the bonuses—in some cases up to P200,000 accumulated through the years.

The Constitution authorizes the President, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice or heads of constitutional commissions to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their office from savings.

Since this is clearly spelled out in the Constitution, the transfer of funds has been “legitimized” by many administrations, although the general principle is that savings would revert to general funds or the treasury, Briones said.

Briones said that while government agencies enjoying fiscal autonomy, such as the Senate or the House, could give away fat bonuses to their employees, regular agencies like the departments were allowed by law to grant a maximum P10,000 bonus.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has asked Audit Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan for a “study, report and recommendation” that would once and for all define the constitutional words “savings” and “public purposes.”

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  • barada69

    Quorum or not, It’s not the point !, the spirit of granting 41,000 bonus to government employees for “productivity enhancement incentives” is oxymoron, when is a government employee capable of enhancing  productivity? you’re right %^**#$*  it’s graft and corruption plain and simple !!!

  • $37644997

    Graft and corruption inspired by the senate.And enhanced by their employees and followed by masmabute.

  • Jane Tan

    Lol… nagreklamo sa ginawa ni Enrile tapos ginaya din

  • jeff

    problemado kayo kung pano nyo sauli yung 41k kasi ubos na..

    • Lucky Luciano

      Sakit sa ulo

  • bogli_anakdami

    this is part of the 6.6% growth…  si bayagra enrile eh namigay, di ba?.. what’s wrong with it?

    ano kayo, hilo?

    • batangpaslit

      hindi ka rin pala maramot. i am impressed with generous Filipinos
      iba naman ang nangungurakot, kesa isang lowly paid worker nabigyan nang bonus nna wala pang $1K

  • Jim De Garman

    dapat kumonsulta muna kay lolo JPE ang provincial government ng masbate kung paano ang conversion ng government funds na walang sabit, sanay sa conversion si lolo JPE kita naman ninyo sa senado pati empleado may 120k.

  • farmerpo

    All savings, wherever, should revert back to the treasury, not to the pockets of employees or politicos. Why pay extra for a job well done? That is what we paying for. We don’t pay for mediocre work.  There ought to be a law, to curve petty theft charged to MOOe and petty cash.

  • tony

    kanya-kanyang palusot ang mga kurakot!

  • randyaltarejos

    Realignment of public funds is only entrusted to a select few of heads of national government offices as if they have exclusive monopoly of the taxpayers’ money. If the Senate President is authorized to realign its savings for the benefit of the Senate employees, why can’t the local government units? Isn’t it grossly unfair and stupid for employees of LGUs, and other national government offices that they can’t enjoy the same as what the Senate employees enjoy? I think it is only hight time that Congress must pass a law that will authorize any heads of government offices and LGUs to realign accrued  savings for the benefit of  their hapless employees. After all, what Congressional employees enjoy as Xmas bonuses are taxpayers’ money which must be fully accounted for by the Commission on Audit. If not, then P-Noy should intercede to, once and for all, iron out the kinks that surround the realignment of savings in all government offices, without exemption.

    • suburbanmother

      I respectfully disagree. Funds should only be used for its intended purpose. If there is a leftover it should be returned back to its source. This should apply to all levels/branches of the government. Also discretionary funds, those that require only certification and not subject to full accounting should be banned and made illegal. The question is you’d be hard pressed to find many legislators willing to support this kind of policy. They won’t be able to kupit all that extra cash.

      • Jane Tan

        Of course. After Santiago’s revelation on how much an official’s office gets and actually seeing the offices of these officials, you’d realize how little they are trying to spend so the savings will go straight to their pockets.

      • Rovingmoron

        Whatever you say. I respect your opinion on this matter. But let’s not forget that after all these years, when trillions of pesos had been pocketed by these unscrupulous politicians, now some of us would say that these public funds must revert back to the treasury? I doubt it. For me, this illegal practice of realigning accrued savings must be stopped by all heads of agencies. If it can’t be stopped or regulated, it would rather benefit not only Congressional employees and lawmakers, but other government employees as well. What sets the Congressional employees apart from the rest of the bureaucracy? Are they the cream of the crop or gods and godesses of the Universe so that they’re the only species who are authorized to avail of these public funds for their benfits? I don’t think so.

      • batangpaslit

        RovingGenius, i opt that government workers must be compensated decenlty, hindi starvation pay—‘yong mabuhay naman sila, ‘yong makabili naman sila ng isang dosenang itlog, isang litrong gatas, pitong underwear para makabihis naman ng tig isa bawa’t araw.
        problema ang sueldo ng mga lowly government workers natin, sa rent lang at sa utililities ubos na.
        wala nang makain…kung may makain man mga tira-tira na lang na bilihin ang nabibili dahil expired, mura na.

    • Jane Tan

      What’s grossly unfair is raising taxes every year to set a budget that is higher than what is actually needed.

      900 x P41,000 = P36,900,000

      Where is the other P5,270,000?

      Some person takes 12.5% while his employees each get 0.09%? Sounds like a good deal to me. Its nice when you have the authority to realign funds.

      • batangpaslit

        i think…it is high time to review the compensation scheme of government workers
        i detest the slave wages the government employees are receiving

    • batangpaslit

      I concur with your idea, Randy. Hindi ka maramot.

  • batangpaslit

    i do not mind giving away bonuses for job well done
    if i have the power and resources to make every Filipino millionnaires, i will do it
    si Sandra CamCam? ilang million ba ang nakamkam nia sa mga pobreng bettors ng Jueteng?
    did she return the money fourfold to those who were swindled by gamblers?
    40K PESOS?
    that is nothing. wala pang $1,000.00 Dollars

    • indiosbravos2002

      WTF are talking about? Halatang di ka sa pilipinas nakabase because you do not value the tax forcibly taken from the minority of us para buhayin ang majority. Swerte mo, laway lang contribution mo sa issue na to.

      • batangpaslit

        You are wrong big time, Bro.
        I pay my taxes—personal and corporate.
        I am part owner of a manufacturing plant, employing over a thousand.
        As well a corporate farm providing employment to kapuwa Filipinos that cannot be employed elsewhere becasue they do not have the education that other employers are looking.
        I and my business associates give out share of profit when business is good.
        When business is down, we do not lay them off.
        We talk to our employees about job sharing. Batch A works on MWF, Batch B works on TThS.
        When the business picks up, regular working hours are restored.

        Before I took residence abroad because my wife and kids have health problems owing to pollution, I organized the first task force to combat Jueteng.
        Nasa abroad na ako when I received the report that the lagayan is beyond the regional commander.
        Umuwi ako…and have the Task Force disbanded.
        Pero, may napatanggal din kaming two star general and other junior rank officers who were the “protectors”.
        Ako, Bro, hindi maramot.
        If you are my Mayor or Governor, and I am your constituent I would campaign to increase your pay.
        If you truly serve your constituency, I find nothing wrong to recognize your competence and your contribution to the development of my province.
        I know how to distinguish what is pandaraya at kurakot from being generous and grateful.
        Pag maramot ka, you won’t be materially blessed too. He who refreshes others, are likewise refreshed.

  • jdelacruz13

    hayzzz ,,, mga tao talaga magaling MAGBIBIGAY ng hindi sa kanila ….

  • Lucky Luciano

    Ipatawag na sa senate yan for inquiry!!! Hahahaha.

  • tarikan

    This is one issue that should be tackled during the amendments to the constitution. So many defects in that Cory consti. All “savings” of governmental offices (no exemptions) shall revert back to the National Treasury. If the head of an office scrimps his/her budget to have a bigger savings (intended for fatter bonuses), it’d be tough luck for him/her because it will revert back to the National Treasury. None is the wiser. 

  • Guest

    Left and right, top to bottom, big and small na ang mga cash gifts ngayon. Happy na lahat sa Pilipinas and mga hard working government employees. Yes…HARDWORKING daw sila…

    • chingnarciso

      Hardly working lang sila..

  • Karabkatab

    Naglipana ang mga naglalakihang bonus sa LGUs at hindi lang sa Masbate yan.  Mabuti naman at na control na sa national agencies at government corp. Totoo ba?

  • Jane Tan

    900 x P41,000 = P36,900,000
    Where is the other P5,270,000?
    Some person takes 12.5% while his employees each get 0.09%? Sounds like a good deal to me. Its nice when you have the authority to realign funds.

    Ang bait ni boss. Namigay ng malaking bonus. Kung alam lang nila yung bonus ng boss nila.

    • Juan Dela cruz

      Kaya nga halos corrupt na ang mga Congressman, Governnor, Mayor, Brgy. Chairman, SK Chairman, pati na ang mga Barangay tanod… Yung kita yata ng bawat Munisipyo inaangkin na nilang sa kanila, instead na ibigay muna sa treasury ng bayan. Ano  ba yan! It’s More Fun in the Philippines!!!!

  • 56del_11

    ano ba yan pnagppyestahan and as if galing sa sariling bulsa ni gov at mga opisyales nya ang pammigay ng taxpayers money ni juan de la cruz. 

  • Rovingmoron

    It’s nice to learn that the Commission on Audit (COA) has finally set a ruling that would require all government agencies, including Congress, to support their liquidations with receipts, instead of certifications only. COA chair Grace Tan confirmed this today to ABS-CBN. Senate President Juan Ponse Enrile, including Senator Lacson and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte,  has relented to the COA ruling, saying it is COA’s prerogative as a constitutional body.However, it didn’t mention as to whether accrued savings from the MOOE funds would revert back to the national treasury.

    • PH2011


      COA should include the Intelligence Fund.

      Not only military/Police/Intelligence use Intel Fund, even PCSO Board
      previously allocated/approved/justified the utilization of Intel Fund.

  • lex

    eto ang mga senador na kung magsalita ay walang kasalanan! hinusgahan si corona, yun pala mas masahol pa sila! pwe. 

  • johnlordphilip

    People in government are getting billions of peoples money for bonuses for their excellent work of serving themselves and their political patrons?

  • Jane Tan

    Bonuses should only be rewarded for exceptional work, not work that’s below par.

  • Homer Guo

    kung sino nagbigay, sya magbayad…sya magsoli. naturingang govt official/s di pala alam ang batas.

  • $16638896

    unfair, hindi pantay pantay ang nakawan hihihih

  • Lakan Dupil

    Habang ang Masbate ay top 8 poorest province sa Pilipinas ang kanilang mga leader ay ginagamit ang position para sa sariling kapakanan. Mahiya naman kayo…

    Ang mga SP member na ito ay hindi nakikita ang sitwasyon ng kanilang mga constituents…Puntahan nyo lang ang community malapit sa pier ng Masbate. Ang lugar kung saan nakatira ang kapatid ni Sandra Cam ay sobrang hirap. Talamak ang prostitution dahil sa kahirapan.

    Dumarami ang NPA dahil sa pagabuso ng mga taong gobyerno sa mahihirap.

  • Ronnie R

    Tsk. tsk. tsk.

  • Juanito Garcia

    ganyan talaga ang kalakaran sa mga LGUs. they dont fill up vacancies, upgrade facilities to enhance performance of employees, buy medicines for the health centers to be given free to the poor and spend for capital outlays all in the name of frugality kuno. para at the end of the year may mayroon silang pagparti-partihan! kawawa talaga ang mga mamamayan sa ganitong kalakaran. sana naman may mananagot sa ganitong kawalanghiyaan para maging totoo na tayo nga ay tumatahak sa tuwid na daan.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


    • indiots

      he he he

    • nuke24

      mga tamad yan kaya tambay

  • Yobhtron

    Imbestigahan yan ng gobyerno. Hindi lang ang Masbate ang gumawa niyan.

  • Charles Lynel F. Joven

    ibalik ang bonus..! kapal ng mukha nyo mga government employees…bunch of spoiled brats!!!

  • Yesha Riuka

     my aunt is a government employee in Masbate City but she didn’t receive such big amount. 41 thousand? So perhaps, binulsa ng mga nakaupo sa pweto ang pera..Dapat lang na imbestigahan ng Gobyerno to.

    • indiots

      baka nga reported namigay sila he he he kung yon ngang mga military napaglalalangan ng mga official yan pang mga civilians…

    • RHumabon

      Provincial at hindi City employees and nakatanggap ng P41K Christmas Bonus. . .Sabagay, puede nating masabi na masuerte ang tiyahin mo – hindi sya kasama sa mga empleyadong MAGSUSULI ng pera sa kaban ng bayan.

  • rosenda

    Sana yung pera ginamit na lang nila sa programang pangkabuhayan sa lugar nila. O kaya improve yung mga facilities ng gobyerno para sa mas magandang serbisyo. Nakakalungkot talaga ang government system sa atin.  Yung mga empleyado ng gobyerno magsilbi muna kayo ng tapat sa bayan bago kayo umasa sa cash gift. Kasi kung tutuusin madaming mas ideal at bata ang gustong maglingkod sa gobyerno pero di makapasok kasi walang kapit para makapasok dahil sa palakasan system. 

    • doncleo

       pareho din pala yan sa senado…ginamit ni Enrile ang pera ng taong bayan sa pamumulitika.

  • joboni96

    sa maraming lgu’s
    nangyayari yan

    legal na pagnanakaw
    sa kaban ng bayan

    mga sobrang bonuses

  • Gabby Purgatorio

    Ganyan sa Masbate. Lahat ng opisyales dyan corrupt. Mahirap kasi mamanmanan kasi isla mahirap puntahan. Dami rin dyan mga nesgosyanteng tax evaders.

  • George Lapulapu

    public service is –using fat public funds

  • rjimenez1226

    kaya pala talagang tipid na tipid ang mga government offies sa serbisyo dahil napupunta sa bulsa ng mga walanghiyang government employees ang lahat na natitipid.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Bonuses for public servants is counter productive. A job well done and done the first time around correctly is the minimum expectation for a government employee. No need for a bonus.

    Ano sila sineswerte — 3rd world service n exchange for 1st world pay. Kaya ka nga nasa serbisyo– not for the pay — para makatulong sa kapwa tao. Tapos talo nila pa private companies magbigay ng bonus. Anak ng…

  • indiosbravos2002

    Imbes na bonus. Parepair nyo na lang tagas sa bubong nyo, bili kayo dagdag na upuan para sa taong nakapila dyan at kumukuha ng dokumento sainyo, bili kayo conputer na bago, upgrade kayo ng electric fan, hire kayo ng dagdag na tao na may alam sa customer service at di lang nakasimangot buong araw. Ang dami daming pwedeng gawin sa pera ng publiko — hwag nang ipamigay please..

  • Ronilo Yap

    Ayon, parang parang palaisdaan na nasira ang dike. Isa isa nang nabulgar ang mga katiwalian. 

  • Jason Cruz

    A poor province with poor populace can give a whooping bonuses to its employees.   Its more fun in MASBATE !! yahoooooooo !

  • Romeo

    Mga buwaya pala ang laman ng palaisdaan dyan sa masbate.

  • eirons1043

    Baka sabihin eh sinisiraan na naman si ‘gloria kasi panahon ni Gloria ng magsulputan ang mga bonus na saksakan ng laki.  December 2005 nag umpisa po iyan at tawag eh productivity bonus daw at kaya alam ko eh connected ako sa isang government bank nuon.

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