Ombudsman: Ex-PhilPost chief has no basis for unremitted GSIS loan payments
MANILA — State prosecutors have formally charged former Postmaster-General Ma. Josefina dela Cruz and two others before the Sandiganbayan with failing to remit an employee’s loan payments to the Government Service Insurance System.
Besides Dela Cruz, also accused of violating Section 52(g) of the GSIS Act of 1997 were then-Philippine Postal Corp. Western Mindanao area director Bernardito Gonzales (now Eastern Mindanao area director), and accountant Arlene Bendanillo.
The Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor said the officials allegedly conspired to “unlawfully and criminally fail” to remit to the GSIS the loan amortization deducted from the salary of Zamboanga City employee Santos Jose Pamatong, Jr.
The PhilPost officials missed 15 straight months of payment for the period of October 2011 to December 2012. Each month’s dues amounted to P2,345.23, or a total of P35,178.45.
The failure to remit the payments within 30 days of becoming due and demandable led to the damage and prejudice of Pamatong and public interest, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors recommended that bail be fixed at P24,000 for each case, or a total of P360,000.
When the case was still being investigated at the level of the Office of the Ombudsman, Dela Cruz reasoned out that PhilPost had to prioritize the net take home pay of employees and operating costs, over the remittance of GSIS premiums and loan amortizations.
The Ombudsman said that Dela Cruz failed to present evidence supporting her claim. Hence, the case proceeded to the Sandiganbayan.
Section 52(g) of the GSIS Act penalizes the failure of heads and personnel of national government agencies that fail to pay up within 30 days of becoming due and demandable. Under this provision, a convicted official may face imprisonment of one to five years. SFM/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.