At Amy's Mercy-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
AMY is not a typhoon or a disaster movie title.
She is something else. Not even an order from Supreme Court (SC) could dissuade her from imposing her will at the helpless retirees of SRA who availed of the agency's restructuring program in 2006.
After 6 years, the SC finally ordered SRA to pay the 16 retirees whose gratuity and retirement benefit were withheld by 25 percent by this accountant. On May 3 this year, checks were distributed to the affected former employees, 3 of whom have already died.
But lo and behold, Amy "recomputed" again and withheld some P200,000 of the P2.6 million ordered paid by SC. Her action constrained the retirees to prod their current lawyer to file a complaint through SRA Administrator Regina Martin, who was innocent of Amy's whimsical and capricious deduction.
SRA, inadvertently or intentionally, did not answer the complaint after more than 15 days as required of government entities to entertain issues and concerns of the public, more so to its former employees.
After failing to get an official reply, the lawyer sent another letter to the Chairman of Commission on Audit requesting to intercede since COA and the retirees were the respondents in the SC case.
Copy furnished were Martin, SRA deputy administrator Dominador Villanueva and others involved, with a note that if unacted upon or unresolved, a complaint will be sent to the Ombudsman to run after passive SRA officials.
The lawyer, who is a regular fitness buff at the Capitol lagoon joining other morning walkers and joggers, said that it seemed SRA has no control over Amy who was the brain in their "little scam" just a dust compared to the pork barrel, but nevertheless damaging to the retirees who have suffered enough.
It should be remembered that Amy and Villanueva have hatched this "deduction scam" after the Department of Budget and Management and Civil Service Commission (CSC) have approved the computation of gratuity during the term of SRA honcho James Ledesma.
The sugar baron impressed former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) in making SRA as the lead agency to implement their version of reorganization through Executive Order Nos. 339 and 366. When the case prospered, CSC ordered to pay the retirees. SRA boss Lito Coscolluela (at the time of the order) chose to ignore it.
CSC, in its resolution, even fined SRA the amount of P1,000 per day for non-compliance, defiance of the CSC Resolution. The case went to the Court of Appeals and later to Supreme Court where the SC en banc favored the retirees after years of sleepless nights and accumulating debts.
It should have been the closure of the case, but instead of paying in full the 25 percent balance of their gratuity, Amy again use her power to extend the misery of her former officemates. A poor draftsman from La Granja in La Carlota City has still to collect some P77,000 while another clerk wants to get his P66,000. The rest have their own claims to pursue.
That happened five months ago. It is still counting and SRA without knowing it or bluffing to be ignorant of GMA's executive orders, may have closed its eyes and chose to ignore -- as it always does.
But then the IRR of the EOs state: "employees not paid in full of their benefits and gratuities due to rationalization program are still considered employees."
The rider was to protect the employees as mandated by CSC -- but at whose mercy?
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 08, 2013.