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PhilPost defends ex-chief over graft raps

/ 03:13 PM February 23, 2016

The Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) on Tuesday came to the defense of its former postmaster general Josefina Dela Cruz, after the Office of the Ombudsman filed charges against the latter over her alleged failure to remit the loan of an employee to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
PhilPost corporate officer-in-charge Joel Otarra said the agency supports Dela Cruz in her efforts to reinstate PhilPost’s “good standing” status with the GSIS, with the restoration of “all benefits and privileges under the agency.”

READ: PhilPost head faces raps over GSIS loan payments

Otarra noted that Dela Cruz assumed office as PhilPost head at a time when the agency was operating under a budget deficit.

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“This is resulting to non-remittance of GSIS premiums and loan amortizations back in 1997 as her predecessors have done due to corporate financial instability. Then Postmaster General Dela Cruz made a bolder step to turn around the table and make the corporation a profitable Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC),” Otarra said in a statement.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Monday signed a resolution ordering charges to be filed against Dela Cruz after the anti-graft body found probable cause to charge her with 15 counts of violation of the GSIS Act of 1997. The Ombudsman said Dela Cruz and two other respondents failed to remit the loan amortizations of employee Santos Pamatong Jr. to the GSIS from October 2011 to December 2012.

But Otarra said Pamatong had requested for a refund of his amortization even before filing the complaint on January 8, 2014, noting that the same request was “granted and fully paid as early as 04 June 2014.”

Otarra said PhilPost prioritized the payment of the net take-home pay of employees over mandatory contributions “as it is a moral obligation of this corporation to provide for their families food to eat among others.”

“The corporation implemented the Rationalization Plan of the national government to streamline workforce to improve the financial standing of PhilPost and create a more responsive organizational structure that will contribute in generating higher revenues for this corporation,” he added.

Citing section 6 of the Republic Act No. 8291 or the GSIS Act, Otarra said the remittance by the employer of the contributions shall “take priority over and above the payment of any and all obligations, except salaries and wages of its employees.”

“With this in mind, the postmaster general Dela Cruz continuously met with GSIS [executives] to settle all obligations with GSIS by entering into several MoA (memorandum of agreement), including the PhilPost-Zamboanga City agreement in March and April of 2013,” Otarra said.

“It is stated in the agreement that the suspension of the loan privileges and other benefits of the employees concerned shall be lifted and that the individual employee’s compulsory premium contributions are deemed paid,” he added.

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Otarra said it was unfair indict Dela Cruz of a crime she was supposedly innocent of, citing her efforts to “resolve the problem of non-remittance of GSIS premiums and loan amortizations due to financial incapacity, which already existed even before she assumed office.”

Dela Cruz assumed office as PhilPost chief on July 18, 2011. CDG

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TAGS: charges, Graft, Loan, Ombudsman, Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost), postmaster general
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