Pag-IBIG 'illegally' increased salaries in 2018 by P248 million – COA
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) said that P248.32 million in Pag-IBIG's salary increases in 2018 was illegal for not having the approval of the budget department and the Office of the President (OP).
"The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) implemented the general increase in salary effective on August 1, 2018, without the proper approval from the OP, through the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG)…and the DBM-approved COB (corporate operating budget)," COA said in its 2018 audit report of Pag-IBIG.
"Thus, the implementation of the general increase in salaries for the officers and employees…constitute illegal disbursements," auditors added.
State auditors told Pag-IBIG to "stop the payment" until it gets the approval from the OP. Auditors also want a refund of the excess salaries.
According to the audit report, "Salaries and Wages-Regular" went up by P125.563 million; "year-end bonus" by P25.117 million; "13th month pay" by P25.117 million; "GSIS employer's contributions" by P15.07 million; "EPP Employer's Contributions" by P56.503 million; and "PhilHealth Employer's contributions" by P947,632.
Pag-IBIG's Board of Trustees approved the increases through a resolution signed on September 11, 2018, which covered every single employee and officer except presidential appointees.
Pag-IBIG defended the increase to COA, saying that the adjustments it made were exempt from presidential approvals. The agency added that the salary rates are still the same.
Pag-IBIG also noted that according to its own charter, Republic Act 9679, the agency is "expressly exempted...from laws and rules on salaries and compensation which is unlike any other government agencies."
But auditors said the Supreme Court has already decided in 2016 that agencies like Pag-IBIG who are exempt from compensation rules "are still required to report to the Office of the President through the Department of Budget and Management."
The Supreme Court said in that decision that "the charters of those government entities exempt from the Salary Standardization Law is not without any form of restriction."
"The requirement of Presidential approval, as discussed above, applies to salary step increments of HDMF because its legal basis, the HDMF's CP has not been subject to review by the DBM and approved by the President of the Philippines," COA said. – Rappler.com