CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Provincial Government employees may have to wait until the end of May 10 elections for the release of their Christmas bonus, an official said.

Provincial Administrator Vivian Dabu said Wednesday that the P10,000 across-the-board bonuses are classified as “cash gifts” and are covered by the election ban.

“I am not just sure but what I know is that the election ban on such items started last January 10. The bonuses may have to be released on June this year after the elections na,” said Dabu.

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She told Sun.Star Pampanga that unless the executive department and the Provincial Board (PB) meet halfway regarding the release of the mandatory cash gifts, Capitol employees may have to wait until that time.

Governor Eddie Panlilio has been asking the PB to revoke Ordinance 378, which calls for the release of P20,000 each for the Capitol employees, on grounds that only P10,000 has been approved by the executive and that the other P10,000 is subject to results of a performance appraisal agreed upon with the Capitol Employees’ Union in 2008.

As a result, the Provincial Government has been caught in the middle of the executive-legislative fray and the stand-off, Dabu said.

But officials of the regional office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here told Sun.Star Pampanga that the bonuses, which they branded as “usual benefits,” are not covered by the election ban that is yet to commence on March 26.

Under Comelec Resolution 8732 promulgated on December 23 last year, it is stipulated that effective March 26, 2010, no public official or employee, including barangay officials and those of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, shall release, disburse or expend public funds for any and all kinds of public works.

Resolution 8732 refers to: Rules and Regulations Governing Ban on Public Works and Release, Disbursement and Expenditures of Public Funds, Construction of Public Works, Delivery of Materials for Public Works and Issuance of Treasury Warrants and Similar Devices in Connection with the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections.

Dabu has urged the union to fast track an alleged petition they are set to file with the executive on the release of the bonus on a P10,000 initial release scheme.

Last week, union vice president Liberato Baltazar confirmed to Sun.Star Pampanga that a good number of Capitol employees are signing a “petition” or request agreeing to the release of the P10,000 across-the-board bonus to be followed by a performance evaluation for the release of the other P10,000.

Baltazar lamented that the union has been caught in the controversy and has resulted to a rift in the group as he alleged many members and officials were not consulted by its president, Remigio Caputchino.