FORMER Cebu Port Authority (CPA) commissioner Alfonso Alerre yesterday said he never received a severance package from the last government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) he worked with.

Alerre made the statement after a member of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) said it was normal to give a retirement package to a former board member, as other GOCCs reportedly follow the practice.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has started a fact-finding inquiry on the MCIAA board’s decision to grant retired Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 director Patria Roa P500,000 as severance pay.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

But Rep. Rachel del Mar (Cebu City, north) said MCIAA board members should stick to provisions of the law.

Her father, former congressman Raul, wrote Republic Act 6958 or the MCIAA Charter. She said it has no provision regarding the grant of severance pay.

“The law states they should only be getting per diem for every board meeting they attend. It doesn’t state there are other benefits that they will get. So it would be nice if they will just stick to that,” del Mar said.

Last April 15, the 15-member MCIAA board approved a resolution granting Roa the retirement pay, in recognition of her “invaluable services and contribution” as a member of the board for 15 years.

Rep. Pablo Garcia (Cebu Province, 2nd district) said there is nothing wrong with the release of Roa’s severance pay.

“It is a board action,” he said, adding it is consistent with the provision of the charter that states the MCIAA is an independent body.

“It is a judgment call of the board,” said Garcia. As then Cebu governor, he also sat as a member of the MCIAA board.

Reward

Rep. Ramon Durano (Cebu Province, 5th district) chose not to delve into the controversy, but said, “Generally, if people are working hard and effectively to accomplish a certain task, then it is just right that they be rewarded.”

In the case of Roa, Durano said he is not in the position to say whether it was right or not. It is up to the Office of the Ombudsman or the Commission on Audit, he added.

Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu Province, 4th district) preferred not to comment on the airport board’s decision.

“I don’t have full knowledge of their charter. Anyway, it’s with the ombudsman. We’ll leave it to them. There’s no need to comment,” Salimbangon said in a phone interview.

First district Rep. Eduardo Gullas also said he needs to read the Charter again before he will issue any comment.

Alerre said that when he left the CPA last January after several years as commissioner, there was no severance pay at all.

CPA General Manager Vicente Suazo Jr. confirmed this.

Withdrawn

Alerre, also a former MCIAA general manager, said he never received severance pay when he left the Mactan airport authority.

At first, he said, the MCIAA board passed a resolution granting him “pabaon” or severance pay but recalled it after his disagreement with some board members on benefits of the MCIAA Employees’ Mutual Association (Mema).

“I am proud I received nothing from MCIAA when I left,” Alerre said. “I did not touch the intelligence funds of MCIAA, not even a peso, and the money was instead used by the government security center, for which we were awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration (of the United States).”

Carina Sepulveda Valera, a former Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) undersecretary and an ex-officio member of the board, received P100,000 from MCIAA when she retired from the service.

But the Commission on Audit disallowed this because of the lack of legal basis, and a case filed by MCIAA is now pending before the Supreme Court. (EOB/JGA/PDF/RSA)