PGMA, Garcia Accountable for GSIS Bankruptcy


The militant federation of public sector unions, the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), says it was mismanagement and corruption that depleted the Government Service Insurance System’s (GSIS) funds. Courage added that it is not only Winston Garcia, GSIS president and general manager, who must be held accountable, but Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 25, July 27-August 2, 2008

The militant federation of public sector unions, the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), says it was mismanagement and corruption that depleted the Government Service Insurance System’s (GSIS) funds. Courage added that it is not only Winston Garcia, GSIS president and general manager, who must be held accountable, but Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well.

“They’ve used the members’ money for their own interests, buying bad stocks and all, and now they’re saying that the financial status of the GSIS is in danger. This isn’t new,” said Ferdinand Gaite, Courage national president, in an interview.

The public-sector union leader disclosed that are lots of assets that have been “sleeping,” or not profiting.

Gaite said that besides buying bad stocks and investing in wrong businesses that in 2004 and 2005, Garcia had transferred P1 billion (US$22.17 million), each year in 2004 and 2005 to the funds of the President. These transfers, he said, remain unaccounted.

“Garcia said that after the transfer, they had returned the money to the Treasury, where it must really go, but still, it was technical malfeasance,” said Gaite.

“The members are paying, faithfully their monthly premium in GSIS, only to find out at the time of their retirement that they will receive no pension due to irresponsible use of GSIS money,” he added.

On the other hand, despite the cooling-down of the Meralco takeover issue in the media, Gaite believes that the government is still very much interested in taking over the power distribution company.

He said that since the power industry is a very lucrative business, not to mention a strategic political tool, it is not impossible for Mrs. Arroyo, through Garcia’s mediation, to turn Meralco into a milking cow and a tool to get back at administration critics.

GSIS is currently holding more than 25 percent of the stocks at Meralco, which is run by the influential Lopez family.

Furthermore, the militant public union leader said, it is not only money that the government wants from Meralco but the enormous political power that they can attain if they get the control over it.

“As we can see, notwithstanding her diving popularity, Mrs. Arroyo still wants to cling to power. And to hold a very strategic company like Meralco is very advantageous to her because she can use it as a political tool to remain in thepresidency,” ended Gaite. Contributed to Bulatlat

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