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House may subpoena SSS, GSIS financial documents

/ 05:42 AM March 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) have not yet complied with a congressional request for financial documents to substantiate the claim that the two government-controlled funds would fail if they are not allowed to increase premium contribution rates.

Consequently, the House of Representatives may invoke its subpoena powers to compel them to make public their financial dealings as well as salaries of their officers.

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“We asked these two agencies for their financial statements and their detailed financial status. We asked for these documents, and it has been two, three weeks and we have not received it,” Rep. Jose Singson Jr., the House public accounts committee chair, said in a minority bloc press briefing on Wednesday.

With or without documents

“If they will still not submit these documents for our review, to see if their grant of members’ benefits will not be disrupted … we might issue more forcible requests like a subpoena for these documents,” he said.

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“Hopefully, they will cooperate soon and without us resorting to such measures,” Singson added.

He said the committee would push through with its scheduled hearings “with or without” the documents.

Singson made the remarks after the SSS complained about the law that empowered the President to suspend hikes in premium rates during times of emergency.

Deferment

Both houses of Congress earlier passed Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which would have allowed the Social Security Commission—the highest governing body of the SSS—to increase the contribution rate by 1 percent every other year starting 2019 until 2025.

From 11 percent in 2018, the contribution rate was raised to 12 percent in 2019.

Premium rates should have been raised to 13 percent in January 2021, but President Duterte ordered the two agencies in December to defer the implementation of the law.

Both houses of Congress also passed in February similar measures empowering the President to suspend premium hikes.

The SSS has repeatedly maintained that the premium increases have been long-delayed and a deferment will deplete the pension fund’s life by 2054. The GSIS similarly claimed its fund life would last only until 2044.

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TAGS: financial documents, GSIS, House subpoena, Jose Singson Jr., SSS
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