THE P500,000 severance pay to a former Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 director is not “unwarranted and unconscionable but also illegal and immoral,” defeated gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III said yesterday.

Davide’s reaction came a day after his political rival Gov. Gwen-dolyn Garcia said the decision to give the severance pay to former DOT 7 director Patria Aurora Roa was a collective decision of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) board.

“I have been following the news on the MCIAA board’s decision to give a severance pay to former DOT 7 director Patria Roa. As a concerned Cebuano, with the interest of the Cebuanos in mind, I believe the P500,000 ‘pabaon’ or severance pay is not only unwarranted and unconscionable but also illegal and immoral. It will certainly set a bad precedent,” Davide said in a message emailed to Sun.Star Cebu.

Davide also said Roa was not qualified to sit in the MCIAA board.

“Kaluoy pud sa mga Sugboanon nga nagbayad aron makagamit sa airport kon mobiyahe unya usikan lang (I pity the Cebuanos who pay airport fees only to watch the funds being wasted). Also, Director Roa, with due respect to her, was not even qualified to sit on the board in the first place,” he said.

Davide, a lawyer and former Cebu City councilor, said the MCIAA charter or Republic Act 6958 requires, among others, that the secretary of the DOT or any undersecretary or assistant secretary designated by the secretary will sit as ex-officio member of the board.

“It does not mention the regional director. And for 15 years, she (Roa) sat there as board member representing the DOT in violation of the MCIAA charter. The Office of the Ombudsman should also look into this,” Davide said.

He said based on the law, Roa could not receive an honorarium or severance pay.

Bonus

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has begun its fact-finding investigation on the legality of the P500,000 severance pay to Roa.

Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Santiago clarified yesterday it was broadcaster Ike Durano, and not former DOT secretary Ace Durano, who called her to inquire about the legality of the gratuity pay to Roa.

Meanwhile, Capitol spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda said yesterday the MCIAA board granted to its employees the collective negotiation agreement (CNA) performance-based bonus, which is 50 percent of the maintenance and other

operating expenditures (MOOE) savings in 2009, and an additional 30 percent was recommended by the board.

Sepulveda explained this to Capitol reporters yesterday, a day after Garcia said the release of the bonus may be the reason employees are questioning the severance pay to Roa.

He said the questions may come from disgruntled employees after the board turned down their request on the recommended distribution scheme of the CNA bonus.

Under the proposed distribution scheme, the amount reached P78.6 million or 80 percent of the MOOE savings.

The actual savings were only P43 million.

This means, Sepulveda said, only 50 percent of the MOOE savings was given as an incentive and another 30 percent was granted by the board.

"They were still given the maximum," Sepulveda added.

Last July 2009, the MCIAA and MCIAA Employees' Mutual Association Inc. entered into a three-year CNA.

The CNA bonus is to be sourced from the MOOE savings and out of the MOOE savings, 50 percent will be allotted as incentive and granted annually. Another 30 percent will be based on the recommendation of the Employee and Management Committee and must be approved by the board.

Sepulveda, in a separate press conference, distributed copies of the letter signed by MCIAA General Manager Danilo Francia, explaining the legality and propriety of MCIAA's action to grant Roa the severance pay. (EOB/RSA)