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Review of PCSO execs’ qualifications under GOCC law sought

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 09:00 PM July 14, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—A new law signed by President Benigno Aquino requires him to review the qualifications and performance of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chair Margarita Juico and other top officials of the agency in view of their mishandling of an investigation of donations to the Catholic bishops, according to Palawan Representative Tony Alvarez.

Alvarez said the President had no choice but to strictly apply the “fit and proper rule,” as provided under Republic Act 10149, or the “GOCC Governance Act of 2011 on Juico, members of the PCSO board and other top officials after questions on their fitness for the job were raised. Aquino signed the measure into law last June 6.

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The current officers of the state-run lottery agency were appointed prior to the enactment of this law.

“If you create a wide fissure between the government and the bishops based on records which do not exist, I think that’s enough basis for your principals to reexamine your qualification in running a multi-billion-peso company,” Alvarez said.

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“If sales, and in turn the charity fund for the poor, will plummet because you opted to burn down the house in your desire to go after some rats, then it leaves a big question mark on your ability to run a lottery that is largely dependent on the Catholic faithful’s patronage,” he stressed.

In view of this, Alvarez urged Malacañang to accelerate the creation of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), the five-person “super body”  tasked to monitor government corporations.

He said the review of the performance should also include not just PCSO officials but also other appointees and trustees of all state-owned firms.

The GCG, which will be headed by a chairman with Cabinet rank, has been tasked to examine whether “all members of the Board, the CEO and other officers of the GOCCs, including appointive directors in subsidiaries and affiliate corporations” pass the “fit and proper rule” which it will determine.

Alvarez explained that Section 16 of the GOCC Governance Act empowered the GCG to also disqualify those unfit and whose integrity, experience, education, training and competence were found wanting.

The said the law created a mechanism for the setting up of appointment standards which in effect curtailed presidential discretion.

He said the new law aimed to make “governing boards of every GOCC and its subsidiaries competent to carry out its functions, fully accountable, and acts in the best interest of the state.

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Another mandate of the GCG is to ensure that reasonable, justifiable and appropriate remuneration schemes are adopted for the directors, trustees, officers and employees of GOCCs and their subsidiaries to prevent or deter the granting of unconscionable and excessive remuneration packages, according to Alvarz.

The law likewise requires the pledging “performance commitments” from GOCC directors and their obedience to a “Code of Ethics”

Listed in Section 19, which enumerated the fiduciary duties of the board and officers, was the avoidance of “conflicts of interest,” Alvarez added.

It also prescribed limits to compensation, per diems, allowances and incentives, including the prohibition on the “granting of retirement benefits to trustees, Alvarez said.

Alvarez pointed out that the PCSO would be a prime candidate for GCG assessment and monitoring especially on the area of board room and top management staffing.

He added that an all-encompassing review of appointments to government corporations would ferret out the “insertion of undesirables especially in firms known to be cash cows.”

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