House employees get P150,000 bonus each
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is playing Santa Claus this Christmas season.
A day before Congress broke up for the holidays, employees of the House of Representatives on Wednesday each began to receive the much-awaited “Speaker’s bonus” of P150,000.
But while the bonus was welcome news, many employees expressed dismay after realizing that they were receiving the amount with a deduction of P38,000, supposedly for withholding tax.
“What will they [House officials] do with the tax deductions? We hope that does not land in some people’s pockets,” said a congressional staff member.
On Wednesday, queues formed at automated teller machines at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City, where the House is located.
House officials contacted by the Inquirer did not give details of how the bonus was set or how the supposed tax deduction was computed.
According to sources, each employee will get a net bonus of P112,000, an increase of P2,000 from the amount given last year under then Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The release of the yearly Speaker’s bonus has been hit by delays this year. Employees expected to receive it last week, before the traditional Christmas parties of various offices in the House.
“In the past, the bonus was released a week before the House went on Christmas break,” an employee said.
The year-end bonus is among the highest among government offices.
On Monday, House personnel received a one-month salary for December, as Congress was set to go on holiday break from Dec. 18 to Jan. 20.
Lawmakers reached by the Inquirer would not confirm reports that they received their own Speaker’s bonus last week.
One opposition legislator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited “unconfirmed” reports that each one of them would receive a bonus of at least P250,000.
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