GSIS chief Aranas resigns – sources
MANILA, Philippines — Embattled Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Jesus Clint O. Aranas has resigned from the state-run pension fund effective Tuesday, July 2.
Two sources close to Aranas confirmed to the Inquirer his resignation just days after the GSIS chief sought to sell a property operated by tycoon Enrique Razon.
A source cited “personal reasons” for Aranas’ resignation, but another said the reason was his clash with Razon and no less than Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who heads the Duterte administration’s economic team.
Aranas was a former treasurer of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruling PDP-Laban party and helped in the Chief Executive’s 2016 presidential campaign, but he resigned from the party post last year.
In 2016, Aranas was appointed deputy commissioner for legal at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), where he later clashed with Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay.
While Aranas’ name had figured as a major contender for the BIR chief post before Duterte assumed office, it was Dulay, the President’s roommate at the YMCA dormitory in the 1960s, who was eventually appointed to head the country’s biggest revenue agency.
In 2017, Dulay accused Aranas of initiating an investigation on the alleged “anomalous reduction” of Del Monte Philippines Inc.’s tax liabilities.
The tax case involving top BIR officials and Del Monte was later investigated by the Lower House.
In November 2017, Duterte transferred Aranas to GSIS, whose top post was left empty for over a year when former GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara left the post in October 2016.
Last week, Aranas said the planned sale of the contested property at Manila North Harbor will push through despite opposition from Razon-led International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).
“As a government entity that exists to ensure the integrity of the funds of its members, the GSIS is determined to sell it through public bidding upon the approval of the board,” Aranas said.
Aranas was reacting to an earlier statement of ports and shipping tycoon Enrique Razon that GSIS only had a “naked title,” hence had no right to use the property.
For Aranas, “that does not preclude the GSIS from disposing of the property.”
According to Aranas, the 672,645-square meter property currently being occupied by ICTSI has a market value of P33.6 billion, based on its zonal valuation as of May.
During a press briefing in June, GSIS officials claimed that ICTSI should pay the pension fund at least P80 million in monthly rent for the land that the port operator had been occupying since the 1970s.
Aranas had said GSIS was ready to initiate legal proceedings in order to collect back rentals of almost P1 billion per year from ICTSI.
In response, ICTSI claimed that what GSIS has been holding to claim ownership of the disputed 67-hectare land was “at most, only a naked title” without the corresponding right to use the property.
Besides ICTSI, Aranas had also sought to collect back rentals from restaurants and hotels occupying GSIS property, including Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and Manila Hotel run by the Yap family.
Aranas received his law degree from Silliman University and his Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in Business Administration, from the Philippine School of Business Administration.
He had worked as a legal assistant to the late Senator Raul Roco and received extensive experience in tax and corporate consultancy from the SGV & Co.
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