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Oversight body granted bonuses despite violations

/ 02:16 AM October 23, 2013

A commission monitoring the pay of government corporations approved last year the grant of bonuses to directors of 20 state firms, including one that was used as conduit by dubious NGOs linked to the P10-billion pork barrel scam, although the executives did not post online their compensation package in violation of the law.

At the hearing of the House committee on government enterprises and privatization, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares wondered why the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) granted P67.6 million in performance-based incentives to the directors of the 20 government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) when practically none of them had bothered to post their compensations on their websites.

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Colmenares brushed off as “unsatisfactory” the excuses given by GCG chair Cesar L. Villanueva to committee members that his office had overlooked this basic requirement in the law.

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Colmenares said the “bottom line” was Villanueva and the rest of the GCG acted like a rubber-stamp office and turned a blind eye to the GOCCs’ violation.

“The GCG should have demanded their compliance and withheld the bonuses. The GCG admitted during the congressional hearing that they failed to follow the requirements under section 25 of Republic Act No. 10149, or the GOCC law, the need for the mandatory posting on the GOCC website of the complete compensation package of the board members, including travel and representation expenses and the five years financial statements of the GOCC,” he said.

Bonuses despite red flags

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio questioned the GCG decision to approve the grant of P666,000 in bonuses to National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) last year even after the Commission on Audit had been raising red flags on the micro-lending agency’s failure to check the pork barrel funds that went to NGOs set up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Tinio noted that social impact and internal process were among the key target areas in the scorecard reviewed by the GCG before granting bonuses.

“A large amount of PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel) was channeled to Napoles NGOs. And you called it good performance and gave them bonuses?” he asked.

Tinio said the GCG itself was aware of NLDC’s role in the pork barrel scam as it was one of five GOCCs that were under review for abolition for being used by lawmakers in profiting from their own pork.

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GCG Commissioner Angela Ignacio told the House committee that NLDC directors were given bonuses because the agency performed well regarding its mandate—lending to micro lenders—and that it had resisted the Department of Budget and Management’s decision to be an implementing agency for pork.

Ignacio said NLDC had stopped acting as an implementing agency since 2011 and the P666,000 bonus was given based on last year’s performance.

Tinio, however, noted that NLDC had been handling pork barrel funds as late as last year based on news reports. “Instead of rewarding them, they should be held accountable for not doing their duty to protect taxpayer money,” he said.

Return NLDC bonuses

Colmenares said: “The fact that GCG found NLDC, which was involved in the pork scam, as a performing GOCC says a lot about its very bad monitoring and evaluation process. The board members should return the bonuses for them to undergo another evaluation, this time following the requirements set by law.”

Coop-Natco Rep. Crescente Paez said the GCG should independently make a set of targets for each GOCC instead of relying on the GOCCs themselves to set the targets.

“These are self-imposed targets that are easy to realize. Why not benchmark these targets with other GOCCs?” Paez said.

Tinio also questioned the absence at the hearing of Emilio de Quiros Jr., Social Security System (SSS) president and chief executive officer, ostensibly because he was in the United States on official business.

Tinio said lawmakers wanted to hear De Quiros explain why SSS board members deserved the P9.3 million in bonuses they received last year.

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president Robert Garcia and Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Gerardo Esquivel attended the hearing to personally explain their 2012 performance and justify their bonuses.

The GOCCs that were granted bonuses for their board of directors were Development Bank of the Philippines (P10.5 million), GSIS (P10.4 million), SSS (P9.3 million), Land Bank of the Philippines (P7.8 million), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (P7.6 million), Bases Conversion Development Authority (P4.4 million), Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (P3.9 million), Clark Development Corp. (P3.7 million), MWSS (P1.7 million).

Philippine National Oil Co. (P1.4 million), Poro Point Management Corp. (P1.1 million), National Tobacco Administration (P960,000), LBP-Leasing Corp. (P930,000), NLDC (666,000), People’s Credit and Finance Corp. (608,000), National Electrification Administration (P588,000), LBP-RDC (P543,000), Clark International Airport Corp. (P513,000), National Telecommunications Commission (P320,000) and  Philippine National Oil Co. (P97,000).

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TAGS: bonuses, Cesar L. Villanueva, Congress hearing, GOCCs, Governance Commission for GOCCs, Government, Neri Colmenares, state corporations
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