Voting for Dictator of the Philippines: Who’s your pick?


How a dictator’s term typically ends. [“Murder of Caesar” by Karl Theodor von Piloty, 1865]

Some of candidates for President and Vice President are on people’s “like” list because they are authoritative and go against the flow. They offer up bold promises of empty buses and roads, reduced poverty, food on the table, new airports, jobs for all, peace and prosperity. The outspoken authoritarians promise immediate change.

Well, boy, “glory hallelujah!” That sounds good to me.

Eden in a week, all our problems solved.

Some of the more rabid of the followers of these people would even like their candidate to be Dictator of the Philippines, or maybe King, who knows. Forget this democracy stuff, they argue. It is too loud and noisy, too messy, with all the people shouting at one another and pronouncing their own personal version of how to do it. We need discipline!

“We have seen what freedom gets us, and we are no longer for it.”

So it seems to me we should vote on who we want for dictator. That is simply easier than a coup or bloody revolution in which everyone gets all worked up or killed.

But we should reflect on things before voting. Here’s my own reflection, written off the top of my head in response to a comment from reader DelPi:

Even Lee Kuan Yew had power, and was not afraid to use it, even if it upset a lot of people. His family planning initiatives (birth control) back in the late 1960’s were very controversial. Those who objected were good people. So one has to accept that the values of one person will overlay the values of what I would call the “consensus of society” in a dictatorship, and the values of that one person may change once he or she feels the glory of power.

The other thing is that a President in a democracy has to demonstrate unusual strength, to allow the freedoms he allows, which end up putting him in the targets for a lot of criticism. So we ought not look at democratically elected presidents as weak because THE SYSTEM is full of argument and criticism. It is, after all, the way the SYSTEM works.

So it seems to me this dictator business gets a little dicey, or risky, given that most power-mongers change their point of view from “us” to “me” once they have sampled of the glory of power.

What we need is a dictator with the strengths of a democratically elected leader . . . that is, one who will let us have liberal freedoms . . . and one who is not likely to go with the BIG EGO once he or she has a vise-like grip on power and the military needed to impose customized solutions on the rest of us.

So my ordering of preference for Dictator of the Philippines, or King or Queen, going with strength of character and intelligence and what I think are rational ideas would be:

  1. Leni Robredo
  2. Noynoy Aquino
  3. Mar Roxas
  4. Miriam Santiago
  5. Manny Pacquiao
  6. Jojo Binay
  7. Chiz Escudero
  8. Rodrigo Duterte
  9. Grace Poe
  10. Bong Bong Marcos

So if I were the dictator who appointed our Leader for Life, I’d pick Leni Robredo . . . and watch the Philippines shine.

But that is just me.

Who would you pick?

Let’s elect us a dictator, right here, right now!

(FYI, I just get overall statistics and cannot tell how you vote. Feel absolutely free to pick your favorite dictator in this highly official, totally certified, completely objective, unassailable survey. If your favorite dictator is not on the list, you can write his or her name in the “other” slot.)

One vote per customer, please.



521 Responses to “Voting for Dictator of the Philippines: Who’s your pick?”
  1. Jean says:

    I’d go with Gordon, how can I go wrong, it’s in his name! Gordon for DICK-tator!

    • Dick means fat in German. So Gordon would be a fat dictator.

    • mel says:

      Leni is my number 1 para dictador, she will dicta what will be good for the country. When and if ombus Morales retires as ombus, commisioner Guanzon is a good replacement dictador ombus. I think these two women can dictate for the good of Philippines.

    • chempo says:

      Saw this on America’s got talent —
      A contestant performing stand-up comedian + magician. Holds a deck of cards in his hand, judges picked out one card. One flip of his hand and the cards disappeared, seemingly into his coat pockets. He started emptying pocket including taking off his coat. No cards. Then he unzipped his pants, slipped his hand in, and pull his DECK out of his pants.

    • Crews says:

      So glad I voted for Leni, if she only had a little more political experience she would make one fine dictator or president. She is the one that stopped Roxas’s and Duterte’s petulant, school boy, macho media fight and I noticed afterwards that both school boy’s survey results dropped by several points.

  2. Governor Joey Salceda of Albay. My ordering BTW would be:

    1) Governor Salceda

    2) Dr. Mahar Lagmay

    3) Leni Robredo

    4) DOST Secretary Montejo

    5) Former DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima

    6) Dean Tony La Vina, Ateneo College of Government

    7) Mar Roxas

    8) President Aquino

    9) Miriam Santiago

    10) Grace Poe

    As usual, slightly off-tangent. A U.P. elementary school teacher once flunked me for this sort of stuff, writing “PLEASE WRITE WHAT YOU ARE TOLD TO WRITE” in red. Well, UP Kindergarten recommended that I repeat a year for “telling all kinds of strange stories to his classmates”. So much for the Philippine educational system, and UP Elementary was autonomous from DepEd/MinEd then and I think still is. It had pioneering programs, but still much old mindset… Anyway I think that the wrong kind of thinking caused by miseducation is the country’s main issue. Following Star Wars, I have chosen those competent, but more reluctant to use the Force.

    • Joe America says:

      Ahahahahaha Well, UP Kindergarten recommended that I repeat a year for “telling all kinds of strange stories to his classmates”

      You still have superior talents, and we (if I may be presumptuous to speak for the Society) for sure appreciate them more than your teacher.

      I wish I’d thought to have Salceda on the list.

      • Hehe, some teachers appreciated my “strangeness”, some didn’t. My Ilokana yaya once told me I’ve known you all your life, you don’t really change, in a way she is very right. But has teasingly call me an Abnoy at times – the masa attitude to those who are a bit different.

        There was Miss Narvaez, a math teacher in Grade 3, who gave me extra work on the side because she noticed I was bored – I finished the Grade 4 math before the year was over. She was straight from the USA after teaching there, with really modern methods in store.

        The worst exercise of my capabilities is what Pisay suspended me for exactly one week. What I did was to forge the grades of about 100+ first year high school students for YCAP – Youth Civic Action Program. As the Student Council PRO and head of a gaming group. The registrar’s office doubted the signature of our group adviser – a math teacher – and asked him. He denied signing the sheet. I did not disclose who forged his signature for me. The grades were part of my promise to the first year students for voting me as PRO…

        Jessica Zafra, editor of the school newspaper, did have the decency – inspite of our being unfriended by then – not to report about that. She did report wryly on the election in 1981, first democratic student council election in the Marcos’ “New Republic” as “that’s politics”.

        Yes, I had some folks on my side see to it that the posters of the rival candidate – third year high school, the same batch as future Secretary Abaya, disappeared within minutes. Mine were vandalized by them, making me look like a victim of rival candidate’s intrigues. We mass-produced our simple slogans – with paint sprayed from insecticide containers – and pasted them on every door and every spare wall. “Huwag magpaloko, iboto si Irineo”. Good I had to leave the country. The political culture was leading me to the Dark Side.

          • Hehe it gets to be even more fun… the qualifications for a Student Council candidate were to have no failing grades in any subject. Our Presidential Candidate – I say our because our barkada then: David for Secretary, Villanueva for Treasurer, Salazar for Public Relations Officer – convinced her to run, had a failing grade in Chemistry I think once. But Chemistry, Physics and Biology were averaged to make the all-important SCIENCE grade.

            The student council adviser noticed this and started a disqualification against her in the middle of the campaign period. There was a tense closed-door candidates meeting, the tenor of the discussion with candidates and supporters was something like this:

            (lots of high school students protesting and arguing, our group about how unfair it was)

            – Adviser: (in the strict teacher/judge/bureacrat tone) we have to go by the rules.

            – Irineo: you should have looked at the qualification before approving her candidacy.

            – Irineo’s friend: IT’S TOO LATE! YOU CANNOT JUST CHANGE THE LISTS NOW!

            – Adviser: rules are rules, we have to go by them. We cannot make any exceptions.

            – Irineo: OK, so your preferred candidate will run alone and win by default, is that true?

            – Adviser doesn’t answer.

            – Irineo: if you had made that clear beforehand, I would have run for President myself.

            (BTW I did not ask if I could substitute for our candidate, that was not yet in the script…)

            Discussion continues… Irineo goes to the school paper room. Finds our future valedictorian alone, studying. I tell him our candidate is in danger of disqualification. He goes to the public address system and announces that a meeting is going on.

            Irineo is back inside the seminar room. They hear the announcement and close the doors. A mob of high school kids comes and hammers on the closed doors. The teachers inside are afraid that the doors are about to be knocked down. The discussion is paused.

            The teachers decide that it was all a misunderstanding, Chemistry, Physics and Biology are not subjects per se, Science is, and therefore since our candidate always passed in Science, she is not to be disqualified. “Their” candidate is left, crying in front of the room.

            The teachers candidate – a Bikolana – was no longer my friend from that moment on. One of my aunts told me she had heard of the stuff when I visited Albay much much later. The adviser respected the election and worked with our candidate when she was President. She ignored David, Villanueva and Salazar inspite of their winning, did not give them any real role in the Student Council’s activities. All three became activists soon after that.

            A micro-story of Philippine politics. I don’t have the Zafra article of then anymore… 😦

            • Joe America says:

              Ahahahaha, PRICELESS! Absolutely priceless!

            • pelang says:

              Looks like the same script happening now to Poe et al. Thanks for sharing your story.

            • ‘I used US passport,’ Poe admits in 2011

              Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 11 January 2016

              US ACKNOWLEDGEMENT obtained ONLY IN 2012

              Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe hid the fact that she used her US passport as late as 2011 based on US consulate documents, contrary to her previous affidavits claiming that she used it for the last time on March 9, 2010.

              Documents obtained by the Daily Tribune showed Poe herself admitted that she used her US passport when she travelled to the United States in September 2011 and finally in 2012 to secure documents surrendering her US nationality.

              “I used my US passport,” Poe wrote as a reply to the query on what passport she used to travel to the United States in a questionnaire document called Information for the Possible Loss of US Citizenship which is attached with Poe’s Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the US (CLN) dated July 12, 2011. Poe, who became a naturalized US citizen in 2001, also admitted that she wasn’t able to perform the act of officially renouncing her American status before an authorized US officer during her stint as Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman.

              A lawyer of petitioners for her disqualification as a presidential candidate said it may not be possible for Poe to use solely his Philippine passport to her travel to the United States even after renouncing her US citizenship in 2010 to assume her post as Movie, Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman.

              Even after the process in the country for Poe to renounce her citizenship, the actual renunciation should undergo a process in the United States for the US government to acknowledge it.

              In a phone interview, lawyer Manny Luna, who is serving as counsel in the petitions separately filed by Rizalito David and former Sen. Francisco ‘Kit’ Tatad, said US requirement for its citizens, like Poe during that time, may be applicable within the bounds of the US but not necessarily within the ambit of Philippine laws.

              “As it is established, Sen. Grace could not use her Philippine passport because the US could not issue her a visa, since it still recorded her as a US passport holder,” Luna told the Tribune.

              Luna is questioning Poe’s renunciation of US citizenship in 2010 because she used her US passport to enter the United States afterwards.
              “It is clear that Poe is doing her best to hide this reality to cover further flaws that may hinder her political ambitions,” Luna said.

              Poe only took her US oath of renunciation before the US Vice­Consul in Manila on July 12, 2011. She explained to the Vice­ Consul that she swore an oath as a senior Philippine official on October 21, 2010.

              Also, by claiming her CLN, approved on February 3, 2012, only then did Poe surrendered her US passport in legal proceedings in the US.

              According to the US Foreign Affairs Manual for consular officers (FAM), which is accessible through the US State Department website, for someone to obtain a CLN, the person is required to surrender her passport after obtaining court approval on the CLN, which requires her to use the US passport for possibly the last time.

              “If the intended expatriate advises the post that he or she needs the U.S. passport immediately because of intended travel to the United States, the consular officer should return the passport to the individual for such travel only until the loss of nationality case is approved. When post receives the approved Certificate of Loss of Nationality for the individual, post should inform the individual to appear in person at post to return the passport and receive the CLN. The CLN should not be provided to the individual unless the passport is returned,” the FAM instructed.

              Despite what is apparent, Poe’s camp, through spokesman Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, continues to deny that Poe used her US passport after renouncing her American citizenship.

              “That is not true. After she renounced her US citizenship she no longer used her US passport. The documents will bear her out on this,” Gatchalian told the Tribune in a text message.

              Also sought for reaction was Poe’s counsel George Garcia who has not replied to the Tribune’s query regarding the said issue.
              SC precedent

              Relevant to Poe’s fate, a recent Supreme Court ruling disqualified an elected politician for using his US passport even after renouncing his US citizenship.
              Voting 8-4, the High Court disqualified Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte mayor Rommel Arnado for using his American passport even after renouncing US citizenship.

              The SC said in the ruling that a person who became a US citizen, renounced it and re-acquired Filipino citizenship, then took an oath of allegiance but used the American passport several times cannot run for public office.

              In a 21-page decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, the high court dismissed the petition filed by Rommel C. Arnado and affirmed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying him to sit as mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.
              Arnado was a natural-born Filipino citizen who became a US citizen. He reacquired his Filipino citizenship on July 10, 2008 and executed an affidavit of renunciation of his foreign citizenship on April 3, 2009.

              However, Arnado used his US passport when he left the country on April 14, 2009 and when he returned on June 25, 2009 and again on July 29, 2009 and on November 24, 2009.
              Synonymous to Poe who claims that she reacquired her Filipino citizenship in 2006 continued to use her American passport on arrivals from March 11, 2006; July 5, 2006; July 23, 2007; Oct. 5, 2008; May 21,2009; and Aug. 3, 2009; and on her departure, on dates, July 2, 2006; July 26, 2006; Sept. 11, 2006; Nov. 1, 2006; Oct. 31, 2007; April 20, 2009; July 31, 2009 and Dec. 27, 2009.

              As admitted during the oral arguments on her disqualification case before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Poe’s lawyer George Garcia declared that the last time his client ever used her US passport was on March 9, 2010.
              Also, Garcia said that Poe filed a sworn affidavit that she was renouncing her US citizenship before the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, not the US government.

              Poe also maintained apparent ties with the US as she admittedly vows to continue paying federal and state taxes even after she surrendered her US citizenship.
              “Though my family and I now reside in the Philippines, my husband and I continue and will continue to file both Federal and State taxes in the US since my husband is a US citizen,” Poe said.

              It is also apparent in her CLN that Poe again tried to hide her being a foundling by declaring that she “acquired the nationality of Republic of the Philippines by virtue of birth in the Philippines to a Philippine citizen parent”.
              Poe who was reportedly found at the baptismal font of the Jaro Cathedral, which has now different narrative versions, is a foundling adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces. Up to now, the lady senator is yet to prove who her biological parents are.

              Poe has already been disqualified by the Comelec on the basis of material misrepresentation in claiming that she’s a natural-born citizen and that she’s completed the required residency period in the Philippines as mandated to those seeking the Presidency to join the presidential race except that a fast polished temporary restraining order (TRO) was released, however, by the Supreme Court during the Christmas week that gave the Poe camp a temporary relief as the judgment of delisting her from the official list of presidential aspirants for the May 9 elections postponed.

              By Ted Tuvera


            • Rene-Ipil says: (posted at Philippine politics and beyond)
              January 14, 2016 at 8:07 am

              “‘I used US passport,’ Poe admits in 2011”

              “Used” was used as past tense. Meaning that it could be 2006 to 2010 or before July 12, 2011 when her CLN was issued. And I understand GPL had undergone the process in the US embassy in Manila – not in US. BI records show that she departed from the Philippines on December 27, 2009 using US Passport.

              If it is true that she came back using US passport on March 9, 2010, that date would be the last time GPL used her US passport. Because no travel record shows that GPL used her US passport after she renounced her US citizenship on October 20, 2010.

            • The journey in search for truth and fairness is truly complicated. The truth shall set us free, as it is often said. Let the truth, the constitution, laws and the duly constituted rules and procedures be the basis of whatever decision the SC will make. Step, by step, I’m beginning to understand.

  3. Bill in Oz says:

    I voted ( completely unofficially & informally as I am not Philippino ) for Mar..But surely this is a wonderful opportunity Joe to have a preferential votes listing which candidate we would like from 1 to 10…

    • Joe America says:

      This is a global survey, and, if you can think, you are qualified to vote. Unfortunately, the technology does not exist to allow an ordering of the candidates, but you can do it here in the comments. We have lots of free space available for that.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      I should do as I suggested..
      So here goes
      3 : Noynoy Aquino
      7 :Jojo Binay
      5 : Manny Pacquiao
      4 : Grace Poe
      2 : Leni Robredo
      1 Mar Roxas
      6 : Miriam Santiago
      10 : Rodrigo Duterte
      9 : Bong Bong Marcos
      8 : Chiz Escudero
      But Aquino is barred from serving another term as president….

  4. josephivo says:

    Why not make it more realistic and just ask the leaders of the 178 dynasties that control the political live in this country to select the king? We are just decoration anyhow, the random generator that spins the election wheel with always the same powerful families on it, enlarges with some hot celebrities.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Hi Josephivo, the UK started out with “The House of Lords” made up of representatives from the various dynasties around the UK..And there was also the House of Commons made up of representatives of the people lived in towns & cities who were not noble and not controlled by nobles ( peasants did not need represented as they were the serfs of the Lords )

      • Their breakaway former colony, the United States, followed that in having a Senate and a Congress with a similar division of labor. Even though the House of Lords in today’s UK has a largely symbolic role, they did have more say around 200 years ago I gather.

        The were what the French had before their 1789 Revolution: They always included representatives of the First Estate (clergy), Second Estate (the nobility), and Third Estate (commoners: all others), and monarchs always summoned them either to grant subsidies or to advise the Crown, to give aid and counsel – but they were purely advisory to the King.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          After the English Civil war of 1641-46 and the execution of Charles I, the English parliament was always dominant…constraining the ‘Executive’ King. But then when William & Mary took the throne in 1688 ( the Orange Revolution ) William of Orange was more interested in governing the Netherlands than Britain..After all he was a Dutchman and the Netherlands was far richer…

          So he asked leaders from the parliament who had the support of a majority of the House of Commons, to advise him. These became his “ministers’ ..They ministered ( helped ) the King. The leading minister became the Prime Minister..and the first was Walpole I think…This was the start of parliamentary government.. But it was government by a rich oligarchy/aristocracy still. Moves towards democracy came later starting in the 1830’s.

          However the colonists in America took with them the earlier version of English system of government from before William & Mary of 1688. When the USA revolution happened the kept the “Executive King” system..But made it an elective position and renamed it “President”.
          The Philippines inherited this in turn from the USA

          • The 1935 Constitution gave enormous powers to the Philippine President.

            Quezon was an authoritarian leader, but he weilded his power wisely.

            Marcos misused his power to take over the system for himself.

            The 1987 Constitution reduced the powers of the President.

            It also has many deadlocks and blockages as a result.

  5. Michel says:

    These articles just get more ridiculous all the time.

    • Joe could be ridiculing political surveys, among other things.

      He could also be playing the game he plays with his son, something he detailed in his article critical thinking vs. thinking critically, in order to get us to criticize our own thinking.

      • Joe America says:

        Could be I’m ridiculing Michel or the idea that we need someone other than ourselves to instill discipline, or the idea that democracy is supposed to be neat and clean. Could be I’m ridiculing the idea that, if we want a dictator, we should scrape the bottom of the barrel for one, when we can get a good one.

        Perhaps I’m ridiculing the Filipino penchant to go for personalities and sizzle rather than character and competence.

      • sonny says:

        PiE, could it be we’re all participating to compose a Philippine titanomachy, a simulation at least?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, for sure, don’t try to extract any lessons from the foolishness. Keep that stiff upper lip, judgmental in all matters.

    • edgar lores says:

      See these articles as exercises in creative and critical thinking — and fun.

  6. edgar lores says:

    1. The more interesting question to me is not WHO but WHAT.

    1.1. What must a dictator do – benevolently — to advance the country?

    2. To answer this question, we must first list the problem areas. I will list six areas:

    2.1. Corruption
    2.2. Poverty (or the economy)
    2.3. Criminality (or peace and order, judiciary)
    2.4. Culture (traits, secularization, cleanliness, etc.)
    2.5. Political Institutions (e.g. decentralization. modernization)
    2.6. Critical thinking (education)

    3. The next step would be to establish what we think must be done in each area. Not just the simple motherhood statement of “I will eliminate corruption and poverty”… but WHO can best come up with the WHAT and the HOW.

    4. To determine WHO, we should probably look to the past and see what set of virtues benevolent dictators possessed (the WHY). Dictators such as Ashoka, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Kemal Ataturk, Lee Kuan Yew, and Jigme Singye Wangchuck to name a few.

    5. None of the named would-be dictators would, in my view, attend to the secularization of the country, such as the passage of divorce laws and the removal of religious paraphernalia in government offices.

    5.1. Except perhaps PNoy and Duterte. The former because he endorsed the passage of the RH Law. The latter does not exhibit benevolence in the matter of criminality and does not possess economic nous.

    6. If I were to pinpoint the best characteristic of a benevolent dictator, it would be enlightenment. On this criterion alone, I voted for… PNoy.

    • Joe America says:

      Damn, where’d Michel go! “Yo, Dude, Michel, this is how you take a ridiculous article and make something of it!”

      “It’s on YOU, Dude, not me.”

      • delpi says:

        Hey Joe, that is probably what you thought when I said: Dictatorship is not that bad, but you came back with something deeply for us to think about and I would like to thank you.

        I read some excellent comments and I especially attuned to Ed’s 2.1 to 2.6. It is not rediculous after all. Well done.

    • I would look at who would be able to offer the Five Solutions – something I thought of in a draft for a future article. These are in order of importance:

      1) Order and Safety
      2) Equal Justice
      3) Education
      4) Opportunities
      5) Infrastructure

      Because Salceda is the most humble of all I see with the essential traits:

      a) Competence
      b) Neutrality
      c) Humility

      I have put him first on my list. Second: Mahar Lagmay. Many have asked him to run for Senator but he has declined, showing extreme humility. But he may lack the government competence that Salceda already has. Leni Robredo even more, but her humility and her neutrality – she has even talked to Sara Duterte recently in Davao – makes up and puts her third on my list of potential benevolent dictators. Montejo for his excellent work at DOST and his unassuming stance as well, De Lima below him because her pride is a bit higher.

    • I posted something that might answer your question no. 1, sir edgar. Am not that good in searching for comments of long ago blog articles, but I remember you responding to that with something about lucid dreams.

      I’ll try to search.

  7. NHerrera says:

    I will first thread water or be a filosofo (not philosopher — as Joe’s wife, Irineo, edgar, Karl or gian would know).

    1. Normal obvious scheme to do justice to the search for Dictator

    1.1 Overarching goal — a dictator fit for the Philippines

    1.2 Criteria, say, C1, C2, C3 with weights w1, w2, w3

    1.3 Subcriteria, say, C1.1, C1.2, C1.3 with weights w1.1, w1.2, w1.3, … , C3.1, C3.2, C3.3 with weights w3.1, w3.2, w3.3

    1.4 No sub-subcriteria or we are may get into some ridiculous exercise.

    1.5 Then assess candidates X1, X2, … , Xn against each criteria with the associated weights and get the net result. One can then get the preferred ranking.

    2. If we have to select one or a few, or our preferred sequence from Joe’s list, that’s problem enough, but Joe suggests we can insert also our personal entry like Salceda of Irineo (a good one, by the way), then the assignment becomes somewhat involved unless one is good at assessing things at “near speed of light” like Irineo.
    3. The above is the threading-water part, which scheme I did not do, but used the gut-feel method much as a voter would? So here is my list:

    1. Robredo
    2. Roxas
    3. Pres Aquino
    4. Justice Carpio
    5. ARSC*
    6. Santiago
    7. Escudero
    7. Binay
    7. Poe
    7. Duterte

    *Average Regular Society Commenters.

    The last four means I am effectively indifferent to which Dictator among the four will rule my remaining life.

    I will also suggest that 1 to 5 should develop good dictatorial traits — if there such traits for Dictator Dummies — ASAP.

    • Joe America says:

      Most interesting on several counts. So, in choosing Justice Carpio as a high quality dictator, and Justice Sereno not, can we deduce that you think President Aquino may have missed the mark on his appointment of a Chief Justice? I occasionally wonder about that myself, but I suspect that when Sereno is Carpio’s age, she will be pretty spectacular. I might put Justice Leonen on the list, myself, but it would mean pushing the ARSC down to number six, and that would be hard to do.

      As for criteria and weights for dictator, would they be any different than for a duly elected president? Does a dictator have to have a stronger measure of ruthless to be tough enough, or a stronger measure of independence to make decisions without the security of advice and counsel . . . or a lesser measure of humility and guilt? Hmmmm. Maybe so.

      • The longer period of a Sereno leadership in the SC (18 years) could be a factor in Pnoy’s decision. She can do much more to reform the entire justice system in that period spanning 3 presidencies. SAJ Carpio maybe more qualified but he will soon be replaced by the next President who could be Binay or Poe or Mar (depending on the electorate’s maturity) on top of the additional 10 Associate Justices.

      • NHerrera says:

        Joe, Mary:

        I agree with the observation that Pnoy’s considerations may not only be competence, experience and independence (reference, GMA) of Justice Carpio which he has in spades, but those three qualities albeit of lower quality relative to Carpio at the time of appointment and the 18-year prospective range of service of CJ Sereno — a game changer of sorts. I note that the CJ is learning fast and on or about the end of her term she may easily surpass Carpio in judicial wisdom.

        On criteria of choice, whether President or Dictator (“our ideal Dictator” that is), in the essentials I believe they should be the same. In general, almost by definition of a Dictator, there will be a measure of ruthlessness in the better sense that he may use on appropriate occasions — much as a tough father who means well for the family. A Bill Gates or Buffet who may say to the children: I will leave each of you with a trust account of $2m; health insurance; education at school of your choice, but don’t ever expect to get more; I will use the rest of my $30-50 billion for Philanthropy. On love, humility and absence of guilt remorse: implicit, unsaid, but shines through like an adult will recall his tough father in his mature years. “The toughest SOB I know but oh, how I love him.”

        And yes, I am partial to Justice Leonen too.

  8. Louie Reyes says:

    My dictator list

    Mar Roxas
    Leni Robredo
    Noynoy Aquino
    Miriam Santiago
    Lito Lapid(or Alma Moreno)
    Jojo Binay
    Chiz Escudero
    Rodrigo Duterte
    Grace Poe
    Bong Bong Marcos

    • Joe America says:

      A fine list, Louie. I don’t know Lito Lapid or Alma Moreno, but I do know I’d pick them totally unknown above the bottom five. The quality that separates the bottom five from the top is the willingness of the bottom five to cheat, manipulate, and play games. The top five speak sincerely and display a higher quality of honest.

  9. I choose Pnoy, with a proviso of a joint Mar-Leni dictatorship in case something happens to the first benevolent dictator. That’s 2 choices.

    Next choices:

    SC CJ Sereno
    SC SAJ Carpio

    I don’t want to contemplate the next bottom five as that would be a nightmare again for the country.

    Either of Poe, Binay, Santiago, Duterte, Marcos as dictator will bring us back to negative growth, loan default, chaos, and being the sick man of Asia. A sell out to China. A return to cronysm and behest loans. All these bottom five share a common link – MARCOS.


    • Bill in Oz says:

      Hi Mary Grace, I am perplexed. How does Poe share a link with Marcos ?

      • The Poe-Escudero tandem is surrounded by ex-Marcos cabinet men and Marcos cronies who fund her campaign, guess what will they expect in return? Escudero, her VP candidate is the son of Marcos Agriculture Ministry and she listens to and depends on all his advice, Roberto Ongpin is Marcos’ Finance Secretary if I’m not mistaken, and he is accused of buying stocks from DBP with the connivance of officers there, after which he engaged in inside trading in the Stock Exchange and made himself hundreds of millions richer, he is the majority stockholder of the Alphaland who with Binay’s help has deprived the Boy Scouts of the Phils with billions, etc, etc,. the Zamoras and the Angs (of SMC (Cojuangco) are Marcos’ former cronies too. Her adoptive parents, FPJ and Susan Roces are avid supporters of Marcos, FPJ for one was aggressively confrontational during the Marcos-Cory Snap election and its aftermath.

        Binay tried to get the son of the dictator, Bong Bong Marcos as his VP candidate.

        Same with Duterte but he had to settle with Cayetano who opted to wait patiently for him to disrobe his coyness, BBM would want him as his Presidential candidate.

        Santiago has Bong Bong Marcos as her VP candidate.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Ummmm..Thanks Mary Grace. A couple of other questions of a more general nature..Marcos was in power from 1965 till 1987..21 years… And most of that time he was dictator…Many many people would have been ‘contaminated’ by being part of the Marcos regime in that time..And many people suffered badly because of it. Was there any “Truth & Reconciliation” process after Marcos was overthrown in EDSA1…And now 28 years after Marcos was overthrown, is it still unfinished business ?

          • I would say Cory tried the reconciliation part a little too naively.

            Her son went in the more vindictive direction as a result I think – possibly one major reason for jailing Arroyo was that she gave Presidential pardon to some murderers of his father.

            • What is interesting is that both Binay and Duterte were initially appointed as OIC Mayors by Cory to replace pro-Marcos mayors. Arroyo also started her career with Cory.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Irineo..
                “Aroyo pardoned the murderer of his father “. Wow !! Yes there is a lot of “unfinished business”…
                I am thinking about this while also thinking about how other countries deal with similar situations. The Truth & Reconciliation process that happened in Argentina after the military dictatorship was overthrown in 1981..It was not a very comprehensive process as most of the military officers involved were “pardoned” by presidential decree…And so there is there still unfinished business..

                Another example is South Africa. Then there were no pardons.But there were also no prosecutions as the aim was to make public the truth and also attempt a reconciliation of black & white.

                The Allied powers attempted a denazification in Germany & Austria in 1945-9..But even they had probelms and some wound up in posiitions of power & authority later on..Eg Kurt Waldheim.

                And France was different again : there in 1944-46 about 40,000 Vichy french pro Nazi supporters were simply executed by local militias…Ummmmmm

              • karl garcia says:


                Irineo has a blog about history and this is the post marcos period.

                I also posted about military history stuff in the comments section..stuff written by my dad.Irineo was gracious to allow me to post them.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Karll….Definitely a mouth full ! Glancing through the lasts of coups by the AFP in the period 1987-2000, I suspect that one government response has been to reduce funding of the military…And now that the Chinese are attempting to occupy and claim the The West Philippino sea, the military have no capacity to oppose them…

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks Bill,
                I know the only way to read them is by glancing at them.
                The exit of the US really was something we never recovered from, probably because we were spoiled.
                Afp modernization failed to launch…one the reasons the asian financial crisis.
                next the bcda ‘s share of the sale of the military base fort bonifacio went missing.
                Pensions of the retired personnel is provided by the budget or general appropriations and their retirement system failed.
                number of retirees is catching up with the number of active personnel.

                It is only now that the AFP modernization has moved.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Yes I see that in the last couple of years the process of modernisation has begun again…In response to China’s claims to the West Philippine sea…

                It is interesting that Philippines ‘external’ defence, has traditionally been tied up in the alliance with the USA. But the Philippines decided in the early 1990’s that it did not want the USA bases at Subic and Clark. I suggest that then the USA probably ( in military circles ) decided to let the Philiipines stew in their own resultant juice….But who in 1995 could possibly foresee that great rise in Chinese economic, political and military power.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                I guess Cory tried her best..It was a very delicate time with much discontent in the AFP..She needed to consolidate the new government after Marcos was deposed…I imagine Aroyo decided to do the same thing …

                But I suggest that a Truth & Reconciliation Commisionn would have served the Philippine people a great deal by exposing what the Marcos regime actually did and by allowing the victims to confront the perpetrators in away that was safe.

              • karl garcia says:

                Marcos was allowed to exile themselves.The human rights victims was promised an amount that is part of the hidden wealth.But nothing much happened there were small victories,but they were small.The coconut farmers demanded that the coco levy money,but Were unsuccesful.
                The Marcises returned.Imelda became a congress woman,Imee congress woman then governor.Bong bong a congressman then a senator.

                I think we need a memory refresher commission.Or anti forgive and forget commitssion.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                “I think we need a …. anti forgive and forget commission”.

                The philosophy behind the “Truth & Reconciliation Commission” is that forgiveness can only come from acknowledging what has been done which was wrong. In this it is remarkably like confession but in public before those who have been wronged.

                I have the distinct impression that the Marcos clan did not acknowledge any wrongs in 1987 when they fled the Philippines to Hawaii, and still do not today. Perhaps they want it just forgotten. Definitely unfinished business.

              • karl garcia says:

                No acknowledgement just this.

                Bong Bong asking Pnoy to move on.


              • karl garcia says:

                oops! BBM is a candidate,so this ends our discussion for now.
                I have read your comment below that you would avoid discuss election matters.

              • Joe America says:

                Karl, you are a Filipino citizen. You are not “meddling” in the election, as I would be. Indeed, it is your patriotic duty to be engaged.

              • Joe America says:

                I consider the blog to be a global platform not restrained by Filipino law, until such laws are written to state explicitly what, in the internet arena, is not allowed. Lotsa luck to the government on that one. But for myself, I have a visa with certain restrictions, so personally restrain my activities. I do note that the Pro-Roxas people are continuing to push out my various Roxas articles, but I guess they are historical documents. They were written outside the campaign period. The Bloggys considers this a Filipino blog, so there is a bit more gray for the gray areas.

              • karl garcia says:

                I mean Bill does not want to discuss politics as much as possible, even if he is not in the Philippines.Bill is ok to comment about politics right?

              • karl garcia says:

                I just read your reply to him.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                There is another election taking place very soon in a near neighbour : Taiwan.

                There the ruling Kuo Min Tang party government are about to be replaced by a Taiwanese based political party.

                This is a development that will not be welcomed by the PRC. They have come to an accommodation with the KMT which still sees Taiwan as a province of China..But the Taiwan Democracy Party see Taiwan as another different independent country…

  10. Caliphman says:

    Something to ponder. The US may soon have its own natural born citizenship and eligibility issue before the US Supreme court in this year’s presidential elections in November. Who? Also a senator, Ted Cruz who is surprisingly running second to Trump in the Republican presidential polls. How? The US Constitution requires natural born citizenship to be elected president, and the definition of natural born is ambiguous although the US doctrine of jus soli if followed would be a problem for Sen. Cruz, born in Canada to an American mother. Now how uncanny is the resemblance to the Poe situation is that? v -ted-cruz-is-not-eligible-to-be-president-2016-1

  11. karl garcia says:

    if there is a dicator who would know how to bypass the systems that would be Mar.
    He would know how to bypass the systems that would solve the Dotc mess, The whole ease of doing business eliminating red tape, he can also by pass the local government code.

    But Noynoy can bypass the whole system
    becauae he had six years experience

    So it is a tosss coin choice.

  12. Larry Hernandez says:

    I feel she, including her daughters, is living among us not alienated.

  13. Wjarko says:

    My Benevolent Dictator must have the following traits:

    • He/She must have a high degree impartiality – To achieve this one must be moderate sociopath to not be overly sympathetic to certain a person or group, although he/she must champion the oppressed and promote a society of merit and hardwork.
    • He/She must uphold justice swiftly – This can be only achieved by codifying/ simplifying laws, eliminating layers of bureaucracy and legal jargon that only 1% of the population can understand. Over-sophistication of laws have been used to oppress or short-change the illiterate.
    • He/She must have a prevention-focused mindset and clear vision for the future.
    • He/She must be willing to fight and destroy, if necessary, a system the favors the elite.
    • He/She must be willing to forgo, if possible detest, all forms of luxury – for luxury is a form of injustice to those who die from starvation and common diseases.
    • He/She must have the be able rally support from all sectors of society.
    • He/She must accept that not all criminals can be reformed.

    He may not be the perfect leader, but Duterte gets my vote

    • Agree with your points – which is why I used to see Duterte as a possibility, because democracy and rule of law in the Philippines is not a reality for most people anyway.

      There are three points missing in Duterte however:

      – self-control
      – system thinking
      – proper planning

      He improvised well in Davao, an impressive feat for such a big city.

      At country level improvisation i.e. cowboy methods don’t work anymore.

      With simplifying laws I fully agree. Filipino legal English is hard to understand even for the educated, even more so for the poor and uneducated who often don’t speak much English. There is not much difference for them from colonial times, the law was the people’s enemy.

      • Wjarko says:

        That’s why Mar wont get my vote, I dont see him doing anything about our legal system. The elite and crime syndicates typically embrace our legal system since they can afford the lawyers to slip through the holes or twist interpretation of our laws. There are lot of first time offenders of petty crimes rot in jail while repeat offenders bailed all the time.

        I also dont see Mar promoting Federal form of government. I feel that the current central form of government perpetuates rampant patronage politics. This system also siphons natural resources and talents from all over the country, deterring growth in other regions.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for explaining the credentials you seek, Wjarko. You seek a radical leader to break through the strangle-hold on prosperity held by the entitled. I think that is admirable. My main concern would be that, upon overturning the tables, we don’t exactly know what or who will generate the wealth needed, as it is the entitled who make the investments that provide the jobs that provide the income that makes the nation wealthier. Also, we lose any checks and balances, other than mass actions and likely bloodshed.

      That is not an argument against your position, because your position is well-stated. It is an expression of my reservations.

      • Wjarko says:

        I see where your coming from Joe, your reservations are well taken. You see in Mar continuity of reforms. The country hasnt seen an administration (Political Party) last 2 terms in office, its been a see-saw ride since Cory’s.

      • An ex-revolutionary agrees with you on this. One just has to read the histories of Russia and China to see how much pain they went through. And how they were unable to organize the creation of value properly in the beginning because their leader lacked skills.

        Modernizing Latin American countries with similar issues have learned in this regard, thus you have professional economists with a social (not socialist) agenda among their leaders.

        Yours and chempos stuff about banking is essential. Germany and Japan started off very feudal when they first industrialized. But efficient banks took over the role of the oligarchs (Krupp, Thyssen, Matsushita and others) eventually while these families often sold their shares or limited themselves to a stockholder role, leaving the nitty-gritty to managers. An exception is the Quandt family which still owns a large portion of BMW. But otherwise it is the big banks that now own major shares in Germany Inc., Japan Inc. is quite similar.

        • Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas supporting SMEs shows their foresight.

          Because they know wealth will have to be distributed better so their families can still be OK and not have to suffer a revolution. Evolution is better because it is less disruptive.

          • junie garcia says:

            Just goes to show that Leni Robredo is the most trusted politician in the country today.

          • sonny says:

            PiE, would you consider repatriating if either of them conscripted you? Both are systems-oriented and I feel you around either would only help the cause. Just really chomping at the bit on the possibility. 🙂 (And there are other possible configurations)

          • sonny says:

            PiE, you were on the ground when FM happened. That you escaped was a Deo volente. The news of martial law made me think at that time that the test of the cooking was in the product. There was no other justification for pooling ALL the resources of the nation in that manner except the ABSOLUTE amelioration of health, education and welfare of the Filipino people. This still stands, now as second opportunity for the Marcoses to redeem FM’s name and legacy. It is too much to hope for but His Will will prevail. And I will hope.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        A bit off-topic, but my comment is about dictatorships.

        From Crown to Clown
        (For Duterte and Cayetano)

        David was brave but not brave enough
        when he did chance upon Bathsheba
        and his knees did buckle, he tumbled,
        the warrior put in his place, even God
        is no dictator, remember he gave us
        Free Will, so he can rule by consensus,
        it seems good intentions won’t go far,
        human nature isn’t equipped to thwart
        temptations of pride and flesh, for
        power intoxicates—you are no longer
        the same person when you are declared
        king, dictator, cloaked with unlimited
        power, try going out at night when
        you’re married without your wifey’s
        okay, there won’t be peace in your
        house, for someone should share
        power, balanced and checked we
        should all be, Cory is Cory because
        she declined a revolutionary government,
        knowing she reports to a higher
        authority, and I’m sure the Aquino
        sisters will object if power be thrust
        upon their dear brother, Korina won’t
        agree, and Leni’s daughters won’t
        budge I’m sure, for the best possible
        dictator will decline it, that’s why they’re
        good choices for the post, knowing
        that power begets power, and
        sin and abuse is masked as defense
        of shaky rule, never shall dictators
        rest on their laurels, for laurels wilt,
        a laughable crown of vain men and women.

        January 11, 2015

      • sonny says:

        Joe, a would-be bride sings, “someday my prince will come.” And me, I sing of Cincinnatus to do hurry! 🙂

    • caliphman says:

      I understand how these can be prerequisites for a desirable dictator perhaps ala LKY in Singapore.But as I passed your filter over the likes of Hitler, Marcos, Mao, and Polpot they all went through so maybe it’s a good litmus test for dictators. Duterte would also. Maybe adding a set to sieve to assure benevolence is needed?

  14. “The official campaign period in the Philippines has begun, at which point I refrain from writing political commentary and engaging in partisan political debate. I believe that position properly respects the right of Filipinos to master their own destiny.” Joe, very good.

    I too shall not write anything in my blog anymore about specific candidates. But I shall continue to write about current Philippine issues – and leave it to those affected in the Philippines to decide what they make out of it. Because in the end they are not just citizens but the true stakeholders.

    The more I learn about the present state of the Philippines, the more I am on one side happy that I don’t have to suffer certain things, on the other side I am sad for what so many still must suffer inspite of progress. This is why I will continue to see what I can contribute in terms of learning.

    The latest news about the MRT3 is in my blog (click on my name for more) as a link to an interesting article from an international railway magazine. Looks like the new maintenance deal with the Koreans is something solid, something not one Filipino paper reports in such detail.

    If this works out Secretary Abaya will no longer be the “shame” of Philippine Science High School. There was certainly a learning curve. Because a modernizing country will not yet have that much experience in dealing with complex systems and their operation, stuff others had decades to learn.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      “The official campaign period in the Philippines has begun, at which point I refrain from writing political commentary and engaging in partisan political debate. I believe that position properly respects the right of Filipinos to master their own destiny.”

      Hi Joe
      I too have read your note about the start of the official election campaign period. I am not in Philippines but I appreciate that it is not good for foreigners to attempt to influence the outcome of the election. So I will not make comments about this from now on..

      But I still propose to comment on matters of a historical nature … Any comment on this ?


      Bill in Oz

      • Joe America says:

        That is a matter for your own judgment. This is a global platform and will be kept open. The restrictions on meddling apply only to aliens here, as meddling is a violation of the terms and conditions attached to our visas.

        • NHerrera says:

          I am sure you have researched this or your visa is explicit on it, but Karl or gian may help confirm.

          It seems there are two relevant periods:

          – the Election Period — Jan 10-May 9 — to which the so-called Comelec Omnibus Code applies such as gun ban, and may cover foreigners not party to electioneering.

          – the Election Campaign Period — Feb 9-May 6 — for National Candidates’ campaign.

          Your are right in taking caution based on the more conservative period, the former if the period is not explicit on the visa.

          • Joe America says:

            That’s interesting. I didn’t know there were two different definitions, which is why I was surprised to read that the Election Period had begun. I thought it started in February, which is the Election Campaign Period. I’m mainly going by a Department of Immigration statement issued last election that warned aliens not to involve themselves in elections in any way. I’ve not really dug into the legalistic details. I employ the principles of consideration and common sense as there are a lot of related issues about freedom of speech and the internet as a platform (where is it located?) or control of the internet. The blog has become more popular and therefore influential, but one can hardly call it an American voice, nor is it in any way running against the grain of what good democracy requires, which is information and debate. So I just control my own personal voice without trying to confine others.

          • karl garcia says:

            section 81 of the omnibus election code mentions foreigners directly or indirectly having to with influencing election results.

            It is under article ten-
            Campaign and election propaganda…

            As to when it starts …better be on the side of caution.

    • karl garcia says:

      MRT GM Buenafe was also from Philippine Science.If my memory serves me right.

    • Bert says:

      A source revealed to me that the Korean partner had withdrawn from the MRT3 maintenance deal, offered itself as technical consultant only but not the dirty works. The offer was rejected by DOTC..

  15. Bill in Oz says:

    And perhaps not Philippino political history either..History walks alive & well in thePolitical highways, byways of today’s Philippines

  16. Ramon Cuerva says:

    I follow your blog and forward most of them to my friends and some times post them on my timeline. Thank you for putting reason onto paper.

  17. manuelbuencamino says:


    It’s good to see that we are finally on the same page on Leni Robredo. 🙂

  18. caliphman says:

    Just to balance CJ Panganiban’s article recapping the Poe case, this link also summarizes concisely and clearly the argument for her disqualification by two lawyers/professors with advanced law degrees from the best schools in England.

    I wish I had the time to compare and contrast the key issues on which the two views are in radical opposition leading to opposite conclusions of whether Poe should legally be able to run. Among the two crucial issues is whether the Constitution by its text and by the principles of construction and enumeration exclude foundlings from being natural-born citizens. The lawyers affirm this approach while Panganiban believes the text of the Constitution is silent on this issue and UN international principles lead to the opposite conclusion. On residency, the key issue is whether Filipino citizenship is required to establish Poe’s starting point and if not, what actions and when did Poe perform before taking citizenship prove or not prove she started her domicile earlier. Panganiban and others claim relevant jurisprudence supports Poe but these lawyers say otherwise. There are many other in my view less important issues that are presented in both views that hopefully will be discussed in the SC oral arguments on the 20th.

  19. Caliphman says:

    It would be remiss on my part in the above comment to point out that many of the key arguments espoused in the lawyer’s article owed their genesis to Carpio’s dissenting opinion at the SET. This included the concept that the burden of proof belongs to the person claiming natural-born citizenship and that according to the constitution, a presumption that a Filipino is a person’s father is insufficient to confer NBFC status.

    In fact, these concepts and others in his SET dissent mirrored his arguments set forth in his mlnority opinion in the 2004 case Tecson vs. Comelec where he presented the same concepts and arguments to argue that FPJ had not proven for a fact that Allan F. Poe, his presumed Filipino father, and therefore was not an NBFC and thus not eligible to run for president.

    The majority decision concurred in by Puno, Davide, Panganiban and 5 other justices disagreed with Carpio’s line of reasoning and ruled in favor of FPJ. One of the three now ex-chief justice opinions specifically stated that the decision was based on the presumption that FPJ’s real father was Allan Poe.

    The link below is to today’s PDI article which mentions the trial and outcome in connection with the question as to whether Carpio should be inhibiting himself in the SC proceedings on Sen. Poe.

  20. I am a Filipino citizen and a stakeholder. I would like the rule of law, truth and fairness to prevail.

    And so, here I go (again)

    “To come up with an ad that ‘ganyan-ganyan din ang ginawa nila sa tatay nyang si FPJ’ (it is the same with what they did to her father FPJ) is a deception to the people. Further, the issue is pending before the Supreme Court. Her lawyers should know better than to allow the release of an ad that may put the High Court in a bad light if the outcome is different from what they want to portray,” Fortun said.

    He also pointed out that the legal and factual issues against FPJ were different from those of the senator Poe, to which election law expert Atty. Romulo Macalintal agreed.

    “Poe’s case is not similar to her father, FPJ because the parents of the latter were known and he was declared natural born unlike Senator Poe who is a foundling which is now the issue whether her parents were indeed Filipino citizens,” Macalintal said in a separate text message.

    Read more:

  21. Madlanglupa says:

    This may be offtopic but the SSS pension hike — which would have added Php2000 — just got vetoed. People think the Prez is wrong in vetoing what looks to be a very populist measure, but reading closely, it’s like raising the minimum wage but at the expense of the employer (translating to more expensive goods and/or services).

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the heads up on this.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Is there any link to this to become more informed on this decision ?


          On a personal note most people from SSS I’ve encountered share Aquino’s sentiment that this endangers SSS. The funny thing is that those same people ALL blame Aquino for the SSS Hike I wanted to slap those managers faces for being stupid. Presidente na naman may kasalanan? Siya ba gumagawa ng batas I kept thinking.

          • Joe America says:

            One is inclined to ask what the legislators were thinking to offer up such an irresponsible bill. Must have been in a rush to get to court or schedule investigative hearings in aid of elections.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            It seems to me that the president has done the respnsible thing to do . Here is the important part of rapplers report :
            “Asked if the House leadership would be keen on overriding the decision, House Majority Leader Mandaluyong Representative Neptali Gonzales II told Rappler in a text message: “I don’t think so.”

            Gonzales, an administration lawmaker, explained that the absence of HB 5482’s twin bill – HB 6112 – might have prompted the presidential veto on the proposed pension hike.

            HB 6112 seeks to secure the SSS from bankruptcy by authorizing its board to increase contributions. The House passed the bill on third reading in November last year, but the Senate failed to act on it.

            “When we approved the bill that increased the pension benefits by P2,000, we likewise approved [the] accompanying bill,” Gonzales explained.

            “While the Senate approved the pension increase, it failed to approve the accompanying bill. Thus, the President opted not to play politics and instead was forced to veto the bill to prevent SSS from going bankrupt,” he added. ”

            I wonder if the senate will reconsider HB 6112 now. And I wonder what they were all thinking when HB 6112 failed to pass last year.

            • Joe America says:

              Thanks for the additional information, about the Senate’s failure to pass HB6112. That should presumably preclude sniping from the senatorial peanut gallery.

            • Madlanglupa says:

              It is unfortunate that with their biases blinding them most people don’t read the details exactly how and why adding a couple thousand for social security is impractical and possibly counterproductive, and instead certain parties and paid trolls are using the veto as an excuse for agitprop, to throw tomatoes and wish the Prez be run over by a train.

            • Yes true bill but a lot of my countrymen are driven by emotion and PNoys veto re enforces how the media portrays PNoy as heartless.

              • The German social security system – one of the oldest in the world founded by Bismarck to counter the rising Social Democrats – was put under enormous strain when East Germany joined the Federal Republic. Not to mention the state pension system which pays the pension of former East German state employees, but then again denying them that might have made them cause more trouble than some of them are still causing now. There are old Stasi secret police people who harrass visitors to museums and tell them that everything the West is saying about the Stasi is a lie – real-life Communist trolls…

                German laws that gave instant citizenship and pension rights to ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe – many were persecuted by Communists for being German because of World War 2 abuses – were a boomerang after 1990. Loads of people from Romania and Russia moved to Germany. Now pensions have hardly been raised for years because of insufficient funds and not enough young employees to pay into the system. But reforms have managed to allow the government to cut the high contribution which is shouldered 50-50 by employees and employers. Including making employers of temp staff pay as well, making them think twice about misusing the temp system to save money on the whole.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ummmm There you are Irineo !

                I could spend time on how Social Security is organised here In Oz..It’s very different again..But one key is that employers make contributions to what we call a “Superannuation Fund” ( Super ) for all employees..No exceptions. Currently if any employee earns $100.00 then an additional 9% is paid to the Super fund nominated by the employee..There are many Super funds here and they compete for business by trying to persuade employees to nominate them to the boss.

                Another key is that for those who have no or only a small Super fund when they retire, there is a basic pension paid by the Australian government

    • Bert says:

      Very bad political move by my president idol. Very bad timing, too. Time for Mar Roxas to terminate his umbilical connection to the President. The political repercussions of this veto will be very damaging to Noynoy’s candidates in this coming election. This is a political suicide if I may say so.

      • NHerrera says:

        I have two minds on this:

        – It may indeed be a hit on his protégé, Mar and other candidates running in the LP or Admin banner; and one cannot take that lightly on its election impact;

        – In the context of the kind of Dictator we want, our Dictator may be acting correctly in the context of its overall impact, not only on the election. Whether of course “our Dictator” balanced things out correctly is, of course, a matter for debate. The least we can say in his defense is he is in possession of data which we don’t. (Buttered that well for Pnoy, didn’t I?)

        • edgar lores says:

          Courage vs. expediency? (Or suicidal courage vs. political expediency?)

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Yes I’m sure that all intelligent & well meaning senators want an increase in the pension for low income earners.

            However surely these same intelligent & well meaning senators want to preserve the social security system from future bankruptcy. None of them would be that irresponsible.

            And now having been gently reminded by the President of the need for both aims to be met, I feel they will rethink this matter…After all there are 2 million SS pensioners who will be keen to remind them in the next few months.

      • Bert, at first glance, the President seemingly appears to be cruel and anti-SSS pensioners who are now in the twilight of their life, in need of financial assistance for medicine maintenance and for other cost of living to compensate for the years that they have been a productive sector of society.

        But the President needs to be cautious and see to it that the SSS as an institution has to be prevented from going bankrupt. The Senate has to do the responsible thing and do their work and enact the twin of the SSS pension bill, the one that will fund the other. The lower house did so, the question now that bears asking, why the f…k didn’t they?

        And the Press department of the executive department need to explain this to our people most specially to the retirees that this is just a temporary set back, the upper house (senate) has to pass that bill. This is so they will not make the sort of knee jerk reaction that you made, Bert. Understandable, I would say.

        In another matter, I hope the legislators will take alook at how the SSS commissioners are giving themselves outrageous compensations and bonuses at the expense of SSS members who deserve them more, like the sickness benefit pay, etc and the loans that are being charged interest. They should reduce that interest rate, btw.

        I hear also that the SSS commissioners are receiving the dividends or compensations on SSS investments instead of those income reverting to the SSS fund for the members’ benefit. They are already receiving salaries, allowances, discretionary expenses and bonuses from the SSS, for God’s sake. I hope I’m wrong on this one. I have to make a research on this.

        • Bert says:

          That was no knee jerk reaction, Mary. The die is cast so they say, or did I say that right? I’m not sure. The election is just a few months away. The damage has been done and can’t be undone in such a short time. No damage control in whatever form can change the mind of those affected by this veto, poor pensioners and their families numbering in millions, long been expecting some relief from SSS however small, going to vote this coming election. Their frustrations will be felt by the candidates in this election Just my thought.

          • edgar lores says:

            There will be a percentage of people who will understand — and admire — the President’s decision… and will vote accordingly.

            • Bert says:

              Like you, and me, and Mary, and Joe’s wife, Edgar? I agree.

              Actually I’m not sure about Joe’s wife, but maybe if Joe volunteers to wash the clothes as well, not just the dishes, then maybe. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                I shall make sure that my wife does not read this discussion thread. Too many crazy ideas from Bert.

              • Bert, honestly, my eyes almost bulge and left their sockets when I saw Madlanglupa’s post. When I taught of my sick aunt who is pinning her hope on this additional P2K that will augment her puny P1.2K pension (she has to have iron injections 12 times a month due to severe anemis after a hospital confinement and blood transfusion, and our 95 year old grandma she is taking care of is on ensure diet only which cost the earth), I was in a state of disbelief. Reading the others’ comments sort of clarified things for me.

                The people should be made to understand, this is a temporary setback only. The Senate has to do their thing to resolve this.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            ‘Dies’ are used to form plastic products Bert….And like plastic this presidential action will turn out to be malleable once the Senate has with thought about this matter and reconsidered..
            After all none of the people on SS pensions want the system to go bankrupt..That would definitely hurt everybody but especially more those on lower incomes.

            I’m sure that this will provoke wisdom on the part of all involved.

            • Bert says:

              Thank you, Bill. I just hope that any damage control can be achieved before the election, or our Mar Roxas goose is cooked.

              • Bert

                True, damage control and most importantly – SENATE ACTION.

              • The question is, who is affected and at what level are they now in terms of benefits?

                For some it might not be much, for others it might mean more. For someone whose nose and mouth are underwater one inch higher can mean gasping for air a little bit less.

              • Bert says:

                This is more a matter of frustration than survival, for pensioners have survived and surviving even with less. Example, two of my senior neighbors who are not that poor bur expecting this additional P2K to their pensions for a long time are very frustrated they are now exhorting all their family members not to vote for Roxas. Knowing the hold of the elders on their family members typical of Filipino tradition I think the families will comply.

          • The die is cast so they say, yes, but all the Senate has to do is enact the lacking twin law for the P2K additional pension law to be signed, right? So the ball is in the Senate’s court now.

        • Madlanglupa says:

          Historically some social security programs have failed elsewhere that, if I’m not mistaken, Brazil’s social security system is now being operated by a private corporation.

          Which is why I have understood that hastily changing such a very delicate system without proper studies and referendum could destroy programs such as the SSS. Yeah, and lifestyle checks of the commissioners need to be looked into.

    • chempo says:

      Pension payouts are all based on reliable acturial mathematics and life-table statistics, not at the whims and fancies of politicians in Congress. Put people like Pacquaio in Congress, this is what you get.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        I made a comment earlier but it got lost at the bottom of the blog…So I willtake the opportunity to re-phase it slightly

        “I’m sure that Aquino will put time aside to talk to the Philippine people asking them to be patient so that an increase for the poorest SS members is done in a way which does not bankrupt ‘their’ social security system.

        For after all it is the ‘property’ of all the members Social Security fund created by contributions on their behalf by private employers..

        The government role is be a ‘trustee’ for these members. The President is acting as a responsible trustee on their behalf

        • Madlanglupa says:

          Already Malacañang is trying to explain the veto, which some people still do not understand why it’s NOT simple to add a couple grand for every pensioner, and instead think it’s “cruel”:

      • of Filipinos must be improved – I would say there are enough financial illiterates even in developed countries as well.

        But every Filipino migrant or OFW family has a story of relatives back home who think that we who are abroad are miraculously rich, forgetting how money is earned, what expenses have to be shouldered and what the consequences of debt and poverty are over here. Finally all the “generous” programs of Duterte or Binay are based on the assumption that you can just print money. Yes you can, but then it goes down in value relative to the dollar, and then what happens to your foreign debt? It would be the Marcos story all over again.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Absolutely Irineo !!

          This is just such a moment as the poor are only to aware of the need to safeguard their SS fund

        • Madlanglupa says:

          > we who are abroad are miraculously rich

          I get the shudders whenever someone with his/her family runs a video of a relative who “made” it in America, showing off their new home, cars, etc. etc. without knowing that those relatives even have to juggle up to three jobs, do overtime, and put up with the taxes (especially filling out IRS Form 1040 every April — what most Americans seem to dread) and everything they have to pay for.

  22. Found this:

    (CNN Philippines) — Aida is a retiree who gets around P16,800 a year in pension from the Social Security System (SSS).

    This amount lets her get by now that she’s jobless after working for 16 years.

    She believes that, before her retirement, there were a lot benefits for employees. But because she was young she didn’t pay attention to them because their amounts were small.

    On the other hand, SSS President Emilio de Quiros gets P7 million a years in combined annual salary, allowance, and benefits. In contrast, Aida’s salary is a mere drop in the bucket.

    SSS is a government corporation that gives social security benefits to private sector employees.

    The equivalent corporation for government workers is the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

    Ordinary workers like Aida are asking: Why can’t there be more money to improve services when there’s more than enough to give big salaries and perks to officials?

    Malacañan is doing its part by limiting the perks and benefits of government owned or controlled corporations (GOCC).

    In 2011, President Benigno Aquino III issued an executive order that created the Governance Commission on GOCCs (GOGs) correct the situation.

    But have there been changes in the last three years?

    Director Paolo Salvosa, GOG spokesperson, pointed out that it’s only recently people have started discussing the issue.

    Compared to companies, GOCCs get a comparatively large package of perks and benefits, he said.

    The 2013 COA Report on Salaries and Allowances shows there are still irregular allowances and benefits.

    Some items appear too personal and unusual such as:

    communication allowance
    combat pay
    cultural clothing
    family allowance
    high roller allowance
    pet expense

    It’s no different for bonuses, which include such items as:

    child’s birthday gift
    car plan
    flying pay
    housing fund
    recording minutes

    Other expense items are also uncommon, such as:

    All Saints’ Day financial assistance
    food and rice allowance
    year-end grocery allowance

    Based on the COA list, the top six principal officers of GOCCs who received from P8 million to P12 million in 2013 were:

    Robert Vergara of GSIS: P12,088,476.14
    Gilda E. Pico of Land Bank of the Philippines: P10,292,930.00
    Amando M. Tetangco Jr. of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: P9,998,692.52
    Darlene Marie B. Berberabe of the Home Development Mutual Fund: P9,385,050.11
    Reynaldo C. Liwanag of the Angles City Water District: 8,830,539.60
    Cristino L. Naguiat Jr. of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.: P8,108,336.58

    Others received between P7 million and P8 million also in 2013:

    Jorge V. Sarmiento of PAGCOR: P7,886,836.58
    Diwa C. Guinigundo of BSP: P7,582,956.68
    Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. of BSP: P7,502,667.13
    Vicente S. Aquino of BSP: P7,414,514.78
    Arnel Paciano D. Casanova of the Bases Conversion Development Authority: P7,135,314.05
    Teresita J. Herobsa of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): P7,134,846.00
    Rabboni Francis B. Arjonillo of LBP: P7,132,035.00
    Emilio S. de Quiros of SSS: P7,080,210.06
    Luis F. Sison of the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC): P7,075,014.86

    Ordinary employees are questioning the pay and benefits.

    Rudelito Tirado Jr., president of the Development Bank of the Philippines Employees Union (DBPED), says one senior officer of DBP gets a salary of more than P300,000.

    “So during our merit increase or the productivity-based bonus, the PBB, ang mga rank-and-file employees ay nakaka-receive ng very minimal amount.”

    COA says officials in 23 GOCCs, led by the Local Water Works Utility Administration (LWWUA), got more than P815 million in disallowed allowances and benefits.

    COA says the money should be returned to the government.

    But the GCG is defending the perks.

    Director Salvosa, the GCC spokesman, says the basis for the amount of the salaries, perks, and benefits are patterned after what officials in private sector companies are getting.

    Ordinary employees want to be heard, according to Amorsolo Competente, chairman of the Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa GOCCs at GFIs (KMGGFI).

    And they have the right to ask questions about the issue since these funds come from their contributions and taxes.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Interesting research Mary Grace..I wonder if the remuneration packages set for the executives at SS are determined by local standards or the standards in other countries..It feels like the latter to me..And now what next to do with this ?

      • The Senate should resolve this, it’s their house that created the problem, the House of Representatives have done their part. The people’s ire should be upon them, not upon the President. I will repeat, the ball is in their court now.

  23. And this:

    MANILA, Philippines – Officials and personnel of the Social Security System (SSS) must return to the government over P71.612 million in unauthorized bonuses, the Commission on Audit (COA) has ruled.

    These included “short-term variable pay,” Christmas gifts and bank gift certificates.

    Commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Jose Fabia dismissed with finality the petition for review of SSS management in a decision dated April 1, 2015 but released only on Friday last week.

    “Under the Doctrine of Finality of Judgment enunciated by the Supreme Court…a decision which has become final cannot be changed or modified even if the modification is meant to correct an erroneous conclusion of fact or law,” read the COA decision.

    “Moreover, the petitioners have not offered any argument that would justify the belated filing of the instant petition for review. This Commission finds no compelling reason to relax its procedural rules.”

    The SSS questioned the notice of disallowance that state auditors had issued against the allowances and other benefits granted three years ago.

    The bonuses were disallowed in an annual audit report for not being part of the Corporate Operating Budget of SSS in 2012 in violation of COA rules.

    The SSS appealed the original notice of disallowance issued on June 13, 2012, but COA denied the appeal in a resolution issued on Nov. 5, 2013.

    The petition for review was the second appeal denied for failing to raise new arguments, records show.

  24. Section 26. Investment of Reserve Funds. — All revenues of the SSS that are not needed to meet the current administrative and operational expenses incidental to the carrying out of this Act shall be accumulated in a fund to be known as the ‘Reserve Fund’. Such portions of the Reserve Fund as are not needed to meet the current benefit obligations thereof shall be invested to earn an average annual income of at least nine per cent and shall be known as the ‘Investment Reserve Fund’ which shall be invested in any or all of the following: (As amended by Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972; Sec. 19, P.D. No. 1636, S-1979; and Sec. 11, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)

    (a) In interest-bearing bonds or securities of the Government of the Philippines, or bonds or securities for the payment of the interest and principal to which the faith and credit of the Republic of the Philippines is pledged.

    (b) In interest-bearing deposits or securities in any domestic bank doing business in the Philippines: Provided, That such deposits shall not exceed at any time the unimpaired capital and surplus or total private deposits of the depository bank, whichever is smaller: Provided, further, That said bank shall first have been designated as the depository for this purpose by the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: Provided, finally, That such investment in deposits or securities shall be equitably distributed to all designated banks. (As amended by Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972)

    (c) In loans or interest-bearing advances to the National Government for the construction of permanent toll bridges, toll roads or government office buildings in accordance with actuarial considerations and the conditions prescribed by law in such cases: Provided, That the tolls shall be collected by the SSS for a reasonable fee. (As amended by Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972)

    (d) In direct housing loans to covered employees and group housing projects giving priority to the low-income groups, up to a maximum of ninety per cent of the appraised value of the properties to be mortgaged by the borrowers and in loans for the construction and the maintenance of hospitals and institutions for the sick, aged and infirmed members and their families, referred to in section 4 (j) of this Act: Provided, That such investment shall not exceed thirty per cent of the Investment Reserve Fund. (As amended by Sec. 15, R.A. 2658; Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972; Sec. 18, P.D. No. 735, S-1975; and Sec. 11, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)

    (e) In short and medium term loans to covered employees such as salary, educational, calamity and emergency loans: Provided, That not more than ten per cent of the Investment Reserve Fund at any time shall be invested for this purpose. (As amended by Sec. 15, R.A. 2658; Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972; and Sec. 11, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)

    (f) In other income earning projects and investments secured by first mortgages on real estate collaterals which, in the determination of the Commission, shall redound to the benefit of the SSS, its members, as well as the public welfare: Provided, That any such investment shall be made with due diligence and prudence to earn the highest possible interest consistent with safety. (As amended by Sec. 17, R.A. 1792; Sec. 11, R.A. 4857; and Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972)

    (g) As part of its investment operations, the SSS shall act as insurer of all or part of its interests on SSS properties mortgaged to the SSS, or lives of mortgagors whose properties are mortgaged to the SSS. For this purpose, the SSS shall establish a separate account to be known as the “Mortgagors’ Insurance Account.” All amounts received by the SSS in connection with the aforesaid insurance operations shall be placed in the Mortgagors’ Insurance Account. The assets and liabilities of the Mortgagors’ Insurance Account shall at all times be clearly identifiable and distinguishable from the assets and liabilities in all other accounts of the SSS. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the assets held in the Mortgagors’ Insurance Account shall not be chargeable with the liabilities arising out of any other business the SSS may conduct but shall be held and applied exclusively for the benefit of the owners or beneficiaries of the insurance contracts issued by the SSS under this paragraph.

    (h) The SSS may insure any of its interests or part thereof with any private company or reinsurer. The Insurer Commission or its authorized representatives shall make an examination into the financial condition and methods of transacting business of the SSS at least once in two years, but such examination shall be limited to the insurance operation of the SSS as authorized under this section and shall not embrace the other operations of the SSS; and the report of said examination shall be submitted to the Commission and a copy thereof shall be furnished the office of the President of the Philippines within a reasonable time after the close of the examination: Provided, That for each examination, the SSS shall pay to the Insurance Commission an amount equal to the actual expenses of the Insurance Commission in the conduct of the examination including the salaries of the examiners and of the actuary of the Insurance Commission who have been assigned to make such examination for the actual time spent in said examination: Provided, further, That the general law on insurance promulgated thereunder shall have suppletory application insofar as it is not in conflict with the SS Law and its rules and regulations. (As amended by Sec. 14, P.D. No. 24, S-1972; Sec. 1, P.D. No. 65; Sec. 7, P.D. No. 177, S-1973; and Sec. 18, P.D. No. 735, S-1975)

    (i) In bonds, debentures or other evidences of indebtedness of any solvent corporation or institution created or existing under the laws of the Philippines: Provided, That the issuing, assuming or guaranteeing entity or its predecessors shall not have defaulted in the payment of interest on any of its securities and that during each of any three including the last two of the five fiscal years next preceding the date of acquisition by the SSS of such bonds, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness, the net earnings of the issuing, assuming or guaranteeing institution available for its fixed charges, as hereinafter defined, shall have been not less than one and one-quarter times the total of its fixed charges for such year: Provided, further, That such investment shall not exceed 10 per cent of the Investment Reserve Fund.

    As used in this section, the term ‘net earnings available for fixed charges’ shall mean net income after deducting operating and maintenance expenses, taxes other than income taxes, depreciation and depletion; but excluding extraordinary non-recurring items of income or expense appearing in the regular financial statement of the issuing, assuming or guaranteeing institution. The Term ‘fixed charges’ shall include interest on funded and unfunded debt, amortization of debt discount and rentals for leased properties. (As amended by Sec. 12, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)

    (j) In preferred stocks of any solvent corporation or institution created or existing under the laws of the Philippines: Provided, That the issuing, assuming, or guaranteeing entity or its predecessors has paid regular dividends upon its preferred or guaranteed stocks for a period of at least three years next preceding the date of investment in such preferred or guaranteed stocks: Provided, further, That if the stocks are guaranteed, the amount of stocks so guaranteed is not in excess of fifty percentum of the amount of the preferred or common stocks, as the case may be, of the issuing corporations: Provided, furthermore, That if the corporation or institution has not paid dividends upon its preferred stocks, the corporation or institution has sufficient retained earnings to declare dividends for at least two years on such preferred stock: Provided, finally, That such investment shall not exceed 10 per cent of the Investment Reserve Fund. (As amended by Sec. 12, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)

    (k) In common stocks of any solvent corporation or institution created or existing under the laws of the Philippines listed in the stock exchange with proven track record of profitability and payment of dividends over the last three years: Provided, That such investment shall not exceed ten per cent of the Investment Reserve Fund. (As amended by Sec. 12, E.O. No. 102, S-1986)


    MANILA, Philippines — Emilio de Quiros Jr., president and chief executive officer of Social Security System, said he believed the granting of hefty bonuses to members of the state-run firm’s board was moral.

    “On the question whether it [granting of the bonuses] was moral, I say yes,” De Quiros said in a press conference Tuesday.

    “If you need to hire people and if you are competing against companies from the private sector, you need to compensate people well,” he added.

    De Quiros made the statement amid criticisms that although the granting of huge bonuses to the SSS board members was legal, it was immoral.

    The eight members of the SSS board got a performance bonus of about P1 million each for the state-run firm’s performance for 2012.

    The bonuses were given in accordance with the performance-incentives sytem set by the Governance Commission for Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GCG), which operates under the Office of the President.

    De Quiros said the SSS and other government-owned and -controlled corporations should be competitive against companies from the private sector in order to attract qualified people to work for them.

    He challenged critics to compare the bonuses given to the SSS board with those enjoyed by officials working in privately owned banks. He insinuated that the bonuses got by the SSS board members were either comparable or lower than those in the private sector.

    “You have to be able to get the right individuals to manage the institution,” De Quiros said.

    The SSS investment reserve fund, which determines the ability to pay for pension and other benefits, now stands at close to P390 billion, according to De Quiros. This is higher compared with P290 billion at the start of the Aquino administration.

    “The fund has increased by nearly P100 billion since we started,” De Quiros said.

    He acknowledged, however, that the fund of the SSS would have a long way to go before hitting the ideal level set by international standards.

    According to international standards, the life of a pension fund should be in “perpetuity,” meaning it should be enough to cover liabilities for 70 years or more.

    In the case of the SSS, its fund is good to cover liabilities for 26 years or until 2039, according to De Quiros. The relatively short life of the SSS fund is the reason it is increasing the members’ contribution rate by January 2014.

    Reports about the bonuses, which came out about the same time as the announcement of the hike in members’ contributions starting 2014, elicited criticisms, including those from SSS employees and SSS members.

    Some employees thought the bonuses granted to the members of the board were unfair, while some SSS members said the bonuses were not justified because the process of getting claims from the SSS continued to be tedious.

    In an earlier interview, De Quiros said SSS employees also got bonuses. In fact, he said, the SSS disbursed P276 million in bonuses to employees covering the state-run firm’s performance last year.

    The bonuses to employees were released in December 2012, while those for the board members were distributed only last month, De Quiros said.

    He surmised that the complaints from the employees came from those who received no bonus because of poor performance.

    Under the performance-incentives system observed by the SSS, all the estimated 5,000 employees are graded and ranked based on performance.

    Those in the Top 10 percent of the ranking get the maximum bonus, set at 2.5 percent of monthly salary. Those in the middle of the rankings get either 1.25 or 1.5 percent of their monthly salaries. Those in the bottom 10 percent get nothing.

    As far as the board members are concerned, the performance-incentive system states that the bonus a board member gets is equivalent to 100 percent of the total per diems he or she got for the year.

    The per diem is set at P40,000 per board meeting and P20,000 per committee meeting. A maximum of two board meetings and two committee meetings are held in one month.

    This means the bonus of a board member is mainly dependent on the number of attendance to board and committee meetings.

    • Joe America says:

      I am all for incentive bonuses and the idea of paying good, skilled people well, but the SSS payouts seem not to be that, they are guaranteed spiffs. They would give the money out even if the fund had a collapse, the way I read it. Furthermore, number of attendances is hardly an important measure of fund performance, so the Board payouts are also really just gratuities.The incentives should be tied to ACHIEVEMENT, not generosity.

      • True, so it means that if they have received one million in per Diem based on attendance (of course they will attend, who wont, when 2 million is at stake), they will receive another million as bonus. Wow. As. in. WOW.

        • Joe America says:

          Yep. Then to wrap it high-sounding language that it allows them to compete for skilled people. No, it does nothing to assure skill or performance. It is likely payoffs for the friends and family hired.

  26. karl garcia says:

    Aside from executive bonuses.There must be a way to ensure employers remit contributions. Lots of delinquents notwithstanding amnesty.a collection issue. There was a certain company whose hr officers was in cahoots with banks and sss i think it was a multinational that starts with a end ends in e.there may be many companies with the same M O.many more horror stiries.

  27. Bill in Oz says:

    Ahhhh.. but this is just the ‘daily grind’ for a good responsible head of government or president ..I’m sure that Aquino will put time aside to talk to the Philippine people asking them to be patient so that an increase for the poorest SS members is done in a way which does not bankrupt ‘their’
    social security system..For after all it is the members Social Security fund created with their contributions on their behalf by private employers..The government role is be a ‘trustee’ for these members.

  28. Ahhhh… I see what I have been looking for… the SSS executives receiving from stocks invested by the SSS during the time of Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo:

    “Now that the Ramos-sponsored R.A. No. 8282 has run aground, the demand to hike contribution is to say the least, an insult. Even if one would have to set aside the P340 billion reserved funds that accordingly is raking in an additional P25 billion a year, the members haven’t even smelled a whiff of it. Aside from having failed to fully account for the shares of stock purchased from Belle Corp. during the time of Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo, reports had it that SSS administrator de Quiroz earned P4.348 million from Belle Corp., while Eliza Bettina Antonino got P1.244 million from Philex Mining in 2012.

    Even if one does not question the scandalous compensation received by these hustlers representing the interest of the country’s top oligarchs, many say it was illegal and criminal because they are not supposed to receive compensation from a company for which they have they own set of interests to protect. Besides, they are already receiving generous compensation from the SSS, and for them to receive additional compensation from companies like Philex Mining and from Belle Corp. could result in conflict of interests. Their conduct does not seem to match with their duty of securing the trust funds from being dissipated. They cannot even figure out that interest of the system may not always run parallel to the interest of the corporations where they invested funds not of their own, and their remuneration means nothing less than a bribe for turning their back on interest of the unwary members”

    Why the SSS is financially losing
    posted January 11, 2014 at 12:01 am by
    Rod Kapunan

    Supposedly, the Social Security System stands as a formidable government financial institution immune from the trauma of financial losses. Conceived to help US President Franklin D. Roosevelt overcome the Great Depression that saw millions of Americans without work, and many ending up homeless and hungry, the SSS was thought of as the magic to keep alive free enterprise that was lumbering amid the specter of communism engulfment.

    As a welfare formula, the SSS collected contributions from the workers with a share from their employers, although it was wholly designed to benefit them. Being a continuing system of contribution earning modest interest, it was thought to be financially infallible until after it was overtaken by the system of casino economy of investment and inflation caused by the deregulation of interest rates.

    The Philippines adopted its version with the passage of Republic Act No. 1161. Under President Quirino, the SSS was enacted to counter the growing communist-led Hukbalahap rebellion. In 1957, R.A. No. 1792 was introduced, amending the SSS. However, it was during the martial law years of the Marcos administration that significant amendments were introduced. Among them was P.D. No. 177 exempting the payment of income taxes on gratuities received by private and government employees, etc.; P.D. No. 347 authorizing the grant of retirement benefits, etc. to members of the SSS; P.D. No. 735 increasing the social security benefits of SSS members; P.D. No. 1013 authorizing the reimbursement for sterilization expenses form SSS; and P.D. No. 1368 granting disability and death benefits to members of the SSS under the Employees Compensation Program and the State Insurance Fund.

    As public fund, the contributions are deposited for safe-keeping and for the implementation of the law by a government agency created for that purpose. On that basis, the government has no right to appropriate, use or place the fund at risk through investment even under the pretext that it would rake in more money.

    However, that orthodox view changed with the enactment of RA No. 8282 during the Ramos administration, which effectively liberalized the trust funds for investment purposes. Specifically, Section 26 gave the administrators of the SSS a free hand to invest the trust fund, changing the term to reserve funds to make palatable their disposition of the money they do not own.

    Being a fanatical disciple of neoliberalism, the Ramos administration thought it wise that investing the funds would be good for the members without those financial hustlers taking a close hard look that investment has never been a two-way street. That means the contributions of the members would be put at risk to possibly deny them the benefits they hope to avail in case of illness, disability, death, to sustain them in their twilight years, or to share the meager amount to their loved ones.

    According to the Ecumenical Institute for Labor and Research (EILER), the SSS as of 2012 accumulated P350 billion in contributions. EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa said that SSS administrator, Emilio de Quiros, former vice president of the Ayala–owned Bank of the Philippine Island and vice president of Ayala Life Assurance, Inc., has placed significant equity investments in Philex Mining Corp., in PLDT Co., First Holdings Corp., Meralco and Union Bank. SSS also channeled at least P105 billion of pension funds, or 30 percent of the investment reserve fund, to the stock market.

    While the SSS claims to have earned P18 billion from its corporate investments in the first half of 2013, one could sense contradiction: First is the projected sale of the system’s remaining prime assets, the so-called Block 57 in Bonifacio Global City and the 4-hectare prime property in East Ave., Quezon City. Second is the plan to increase contribution in the wake of the pending bills seeking to increase the monthly pension of retired members. Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos sought to increase the monthly pension form the current range of P1,200 to P2,440 a month to P3,000 to increase by P500 a month until the amount reaches P5,000.

    According to Rizaldy Capulong, deputy chief actuary of the SSS, the projected pension fund would run out of money by 2039 if the current proposals are implemented without a corresponding increase in contributions. The argument amounts to asking which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Before that, the members were made to believe the earnings from their investment would be used to as supplement their benefits and monthly pensions without imposing additional burden to the employees and the employers.

    .Now that the Ramos-sponsored R.A. No. 8282 has run aground, the demand to hike contribution is to say the least, an insult. Even if one would have to set aside the P340 billion reserved funds that accordingly is raking in an additional P25 billion a year, the members haven’t even smelled a whiff of it. Aside from having failed to fully account for the shares of stock purchased from Belle Corp. during the time of Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo, reports had it that SSS administrator de Quiroz earned P4.348 million from Belle Corp., while Eliza Bettina Antonino got P1.244 million from Philex Mining in 2012.

    Even if one does not question the scandalous compensation received by these hustlers representing the interest of the country’s top oligarchs, many say it was illegal and criminal because they are not supposed to receive compensation from a company for which they have they own set of interests to protect. Besides, they are already receiving generous compensation from the SSS, and for them to receive additional compensation from companies like Philex Mining and from Belle Corp. could result in conflict of interests. Their conduct does not seem to match with their duty of securing the trust funds from being dissipated. They cannot even figure out that interest of the system may not always run parallel to the interest of the corporations where they invested funds not of their own, and their remuneration means nothing less than a bribe for turning their back on interest of the unwary members

      • Bill in Oz says:

        This warrants a blog all of it’s own Mary Grace..Keep some powder dry !!
        What do you think Joe ?

        • Yep, this could be Mary Grace’s first blog article. She has done some damn good research work on this topic just now. It could make a lot of things clearer for all citizens.

          The stuff here just needs to be brought into an outline, condensed and sources linked.

          • whoa… I did the research while checking the MC applications in payment for permits, licenses and Vat dues that the staffs have prepared. Next in line will be the financial statements for the BIR, SEC and stockholders for the 43 corporations I’m handling. I think I cannot not do justice writing that article while I am not fully focused. By the time I’m done with the government taxes and reportorial requirements, this topic will no longer be timely.

            • I understand that… I am starting to get busier and have to take care as well.

              And I can’t really do justice to the topic at all, lack the experience with the Filipino SSS. Social Security stuff is extremely complex – even the system here in Germany I hardly get…

        • Joe America says:

          The more Mary digs, the uglier it gets. SSS Administration as an icon of entitlement and impunity and self-enrichment. An excellent blog topic, although I will likely have to develop a new category called “Horror Stories”. We can tag Customs the same way.

          • edgar lores says:

            I forget. Has the Society given Mary a title yet? Paralegal researcher? Fact finder? Dirt Digger? Minister of Defense?

          • Why do you think Russian communism failed? Because the Soviet apparatchiks were for the most part even worse thieves than the Russian nobility they killed or exiled.

            The future of the Philippines under Binay would be financial collapse within 10 years.

          • karl garcia says:

            Time to consolidate your research into a blog.
            Sss and whatever the Sc will decide re Poe.

            you are too good to be just deputy tanod.

            • karl garcia says:

              you muckracker you

              • Hahaha…it pains me to dig and find out this much dirt…the search is easy when you know what to search for, information is available in one click of your mouse, but when you find it…ugh!’s depressing…..I pity the President, going after the corrupt and being labelled vindictive, engaged in selective justice.

                The cases are in courts (PDAF, Ampatuan, Corona tax cases) but the slow pace of justice is still being placed upon him. Corona has left a few hundreds in his many banks when we want to garnish hundreds of millions, Binay and his dummies had emptied their accounts when the SBRSC started its hearings long before the AMLC recommended to the CA to freeze those accounts.

                If he tries to point a finger at Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo in these SSS anomalies, what will the opposition think and say again, endless blaming and finger pointing when all he is doing is to clean house in every department and agencies.

                That Belle stocks, if I’m not mistaken, is part of the many issues against Estrada in his impeachment and plunder trial. How much did the SSS lose in the EBC transaction which one of his mistresses brokered? More research is needed, just like the plunder case of Marcos, they are hidden in so many labyrinth, a maze of complicated networks that the PCIJ has done woderful work of uncovering.

                Corruption is everywhere…BOC, BIR, MWSS, SSS, GSIS. MILITARY, DEPED, CHED, GOCCs, DA…it’s revolting…its cancer in our society and we all know cancer is so hard to fight.

                It takes two to tango, businessmen and taxpayers need to realize that and be willing to change their outlook in life – an individual decision that would change society if everyone will take part in. One chief execitive cannot do it alone.

            • She doesn’t have time she just wrote. My time is getting tighter as well.

              And I don’t have enough background on SSS and its Philippine realities.

              May I suggest Gian and you put something together? I can check the draft.

              • karl garcia says:

                Gian is a new daddy,so that leaves me.let us see if I can consolidate the forensics.I,Will email or facebook message you and Mary if something comes out of it. Bahala na si batman.

              • I suggest you go by the following outline:

                1) how SSS got started

                2) short description of the system
                2a) how and who it gets money from
                2b) how the money is administered and by whom
                2c) how it distributes its money to beneficiaries – computation

                3) abuses of the system in the past

                4) present financial situation
                4a) how much money does it get, where are collections missing
                4b) how much reserves does it have, how precarious are they
                4c) how much money people get, where are the squeeze points

                5) possible solutions to the conundrum
                5a) improve financing (like you wrote some employers are avoiding it)
                5b) save money (avoid unnecessary benefits to managers and such)
                5c) conclusion and invitation to further discussion

                You could start by making bullet points, short Karl sentences, for every item.

                Once you have that collection, regroup and summarize, round off the sentences.

              • bhankin says:

                Mary Grace I am willing to help with this. Joe coukd you foreward my email if MGP thinks it a ood idea. Bill in Oz

                Sent from my Samsung GALAXY S5 on the Telstra mobile network

              • Thanks Bill… but if Karl or anyone still wants to do it, my outline suggestion is not much more than the typical consulting report outline expanded to the topic at hand:

                Present Situation
                Current Issues
                Possible Solutions

                Anyone who does it is fine… I think the topic is important for the Philippine body politic.

              • Bill if you want, contact me in Facebook:

                I can enable an FB chat with Mary Grace, Karl and JoeAm to get this done.

              • karl garcia says:

                bill can do it with your outline and with all the info Mary has digged up.

            • Joe America says:

              She has just received an appointment with a title of her own, Chief of Investigation and Oversight. Or Chief Muckraker. You are now understaffed.

              • There goes the barangay, understaffed in favor of the national government.

              • karl garcia says:

                It has always been my dream to have my staff be promoted by the senior management.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Hi Joe, Mary Grace, Irineo & Karl
                I was out this evening dancing Argentina tango..I checked my mobile and sent 2 replies…..Now I am home and have just discovered that because my mobile was ‘flat bat’ they were not sent and were lost….

                So now I will say what was lost…
                1: I would be pleased to help Mary Grace in her executive role as “Chief Muckraker”. I am retired and have the time..And it would be an opportunity for me to learn more about the Philippines…But if I am not needed I will rest easy…
                2: Irineo you suggested I contact you via facebook. Alas I cannot. I long ago decided not do Facebook to preserve some anonynmity after a time of being slightly conspicuous ( in another area of life completely )..But Joe & Edgar both have my email address if you want to email…
                3 : Reading through the comments I realise that “Social Security” is intended to provide assistance in a wide range of situations for employees of private companies. I will list the ones that I have discovered so far
                a) Retirement pensions
                b) Sickness benefits when employees are sick & unable to work
                c) Maternity benefit when women are pregnant
                d) Workers compensation & benefits when employees are injured at work & incapacitated.

                The amount that is paid to a beneficiary depends upon how much was contributed while employed

                What other areas have I missed ?

                There have been a number of comments about many private companies not paying the legally mandated employer contributions.And about contributions from companies being redirected on occasion to the pockets of other persons…I suggest that this indicates that the penalties are not severe enough : suspension of corporations registration and the appointment of “managing auditors” could help..But maybe I am off track here…

                Finally somewhere in one of her comments Mary Grace states that “it takes two to tango”.. I have danced Argentine tango for the past 7 years.. It is a wonderful joyous form of dance..It offends me slightly ( just slightly ) that this phrase is used in the way it is…But despite that I suggest an amendment. In Argentine tango it takes a community to dance. Truly, just 2 cannot dance for very long.. And the same is true with corruption : it happens as a community phenomenon…

                Bill in Oz

              • karl garcia says:

                I suggest you do it. Ask for Irineo’s Email.
                Then Irineo can ask us for inputs if needed,but I am sure you can do a great article.

              • exactly, corruption is usually part of the culture, the easy way out of things.

                In the Philippines it is often those who don’t profit that complain about those who do.

              • Wow, am honored here, and such a small research I did in one afternoon…the computer did most of the work, it’s all there. Yvonne deserves it more with what she is researching and posting.

                I thank everyone, here, sir edgar, karl, Joe, Irineo and Bill though I don’t deserve it. I accept the challenge, if only I’m not tied with this group of companies, I’ll gladly do the article, but time has always been a scarce commodity for me.

                With the President’s vetoe on the approved law, the retirees and pensioners are up in arms, Bert is right, Mar and the other admin candidates could be at the losing end. The Senate and the HOR could override the vetoe and the law will be implemented, but that would damage the SSS render it bankrupt after 2 decades or so. Correcting the ills besetting it will take time and the retirees have been counting on the addrional 2K pension for such a quite sometime now since the proposal of the bill has been published. My aunt, for one, has been so affected and no amount of my explaining could lessen her disappointment. Other retirees who depend solely on this meager pension need the government’s attention.

                It’s counterpart in the public sector has already implemented P5K minimum pension years ago. It’s about time the private retirees’ minimum pension is adjusted from P1.2K to P3.2K initially and later to reach the GSIS level. Who can subsist with just P3.2K when your already old and pain and sickness begin to manifest? And still it is being withhold to this day. Get your acts together. Please.

                Enact the other twin law, honorable senators and do the senate investigation on the SSS anomalies, enact a stiffer law to punish companies which are not compliant.

                Instead of reopening the Mamasapano investigation which is obviously political in nature.

              • OK Mary Grace… I have a suggestion… please send me the links to all your postings and sources via FB. I will put together an article by this weekend based on my outline.

                It will at least be an attempt to summarize and frame the topic… the rest will be discussion.

              • Karl, thanks for the links you mailed… but the big picture needed continues to evade me.

                Sorry I will have to leave that job of putting it together to someone else… my head spins.

                The more one looks at the country in detail… the clearer it gets how messed up it is.

                Need my energy for other stuff at the moment, and that is draining even for me.

                MRT-3 technical aspects were still OK, that stuff is too far from what I can analyze well.

              • Better to just check this out, it makes very clear in simple math what the issue is:


              • karl garcia says:

                Back to Bill’s offer.We will surely get a goood product or output.We will fill in the blanks in the comments.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Hi Karl ..Ummmm. Thank you for the vote of support..

                Bill in Oz I suggested this as a worthy separate blog…And offered to help Mary Grace do it as well..Given that Mary Grace and Irineo do not have the time to spare.. I will spend time on it over the next 2-3 days.. I will take Irineo’s outline as a guide…

                However is this suggestion Ok with you Joe ? Mary Grace ? Irineo ?

                Bill in Oz

              • karl garcia says:

                It will be ok with them.Right guys?
                Just email it to Joe then he will line it up.

                btw here is the background


              • Some perspective for Mary:

                GSIS contributions are:
                “(l) Average Monthly Compensation (AMC) — The quotient arrived at after dividing the aggregate compensation received by the member during his last thirty-six (36) months of service preceding his separation/retirement/disability/death by thirty-six (36), or by the number of months he received such compensation if he has less than thirty-six (36) months of service: Provided, That the average monthly compensation shall in no case exceed the amount and rate as may be respectively set by the Board under the rules and regulations implementing this Act as determined by the actuary of the GSIS: Provided, further, That initially the average monthly compensation shall not exceed Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), and premium shall be nine percent (9%) and twelve percent (12%) for employee and employer covering the AMC limit and below; and two percent (2%) and twelve percent (12%) for employee and employer covering the compensation above the AMC limit;

                The big difference is our law makers didn’t cap GSIS contributions to a maximum monthly compensation of 16000 PHP.

                This allows GSIS to have a fund that is comparable to that of SSS when SSS has 29 Million Members while GSIS has around just below 2 Million members.

                from this app:


                The SSS Contribution is around 600 with matching 1200 from his employer

                while the Goverment employee contributes 5400 with matching 7200 as a share of the government.

                The demographics of Government vs Private corporations would show us the maximum contributions that these GOCC should be getting vs what they are actually getting.

                To get SSS to be competitive we have to increase the maximum contributions and enforce collection efficiency moves similar to what Kim Henares did to BIR.

                As Karl stated this is Anti Business in the sense that lots of companies will oppose increasing maximum contributions because it will also increase their share as employers.

                This is a sticky issue that cuts across a lot of interests.

    • Every system that has some sort of social welfare is prone to being plundered, legally or illegally. The German social welfare system dates back to Chancellor Otto von Bismarck – probably it is the oldest system in the world, even though the Swiss system might be older. – it was legally plundered in the opinion of many when East Germany joined the Federal Republic. Now former East German state employees including many hardcore (ex-?)communists enjoy their pensions. The laws that gave ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe instant citizenship and pensions – because they were subject to persecution due to vindictiveness after the Second World War – were a boomerang when huge numbers came in from Romania and Russia after 1990…

      Some sort of balance has been restored, the contribution was even lowered recently, BUT many pensioners are now below the official Existenzminimum – minimum subsistence level – and have to be given social welfare money just to meet their living expenses… very sad.

      There were scandals in the health insurance system early this century, about spending for large administrative “palaces” and such while cutting down on benefits for their members. Dental care for example. I have a major tooth crown coming up, I will have to pay myself.

      Checks and balances are even more important in social welfare systems of any sort, because what an old Jewish communist lady in New York, Auschwitz survivor, once told me is very true: “socialism is nice, but it failed because people are pigs”. Well they often are.

  29. AMADO E. CABAERO • 2 years ago

    One thing good about Emilio de Quiros, SSS President, is that under him the SSS officially recognized that emoluments given the SSS officials as directors in borrower corporations like Philex Mining Co., are additional investment income of the SSS, not personal income of the officials.

    Previous SSS presidents Romulo Neri, Corazon dela Paz, and before them, Carlos
    Arellano under Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, curiously birds of the same feather, pocketed the emoluments as their own despite the outcry of SSS retirees, principally the Philippine Association of Retired Persons (PARP).

    And while de Quiros and the directors took bonuses of P1 million each, compare that with the P127.4 million that Neri and dela Paz with two others “pocketed” as the senate investigating committee Chairman Senator Franklin Drilon put it, as if it were only a petty larceny. And until now, the thieves are enjoying their stolen wealth while the pensioners are desperately in need of money for the maintenance medicines they cannot buy with their low pensions. And to top the injustice, the case filed by PARP with the Ombudsman three years ago continue to be undecided despite our several follow ups.

    I beg the readers to help PARP decry the injustice committed by Neri and his pack and get off the back of de Quiros and his directors who have done no more than approve for themselves a few millions in bonuses while stopping the practice of “pocketing” hundreds of millions in emoluments by future SSS officials/directors of corporate borrowers from SSS.

    AMADO F. CABAERO , PARP Founding Chair and Past National

  30. P1-million bonuses unjustified

    To Take A Stand
    Oscar P. Lagman, Jr.

    “THE FUND has increased by 100 billion since we started,” said Emilio de Quiros, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Social Security System (SSS) to justify the grant of million-peso bonuses to himself and to seven other members of the board of directors. He asked critics to compare the bonuses given the SSS directors with those given to executives of private banks, implying that they are comparable.
    There is a flaw in the comparison though. According to the corporation code, the function of directors is to provide strategic planning, formulate general policies, appoint the right people to put the policies into effect, and approve major contracts. Members of the board of directors do not devote all their time to the business of the corporation nor do they get involved in its operations.

    In fact, the SSS directors devote at the most only four days a month to the business of the SSS. A maximum of two board meetings and two committee meetings are held a month. It is very likely that due to the nature of those meetings the directors spend no more than six hours in each of those meetings. Because of the complex nature of the banking industry and the enormity of their responsibilities as senior officers of banks, bank executives normally work more than eight hours each working day of the month, 12 months a year.

    “You have to be able to get the right individuals to manage the institution. If you need to hire people and if you are competing against companies from the private sector, you need to compensate people well,” De Quiros added.

    According to the corporation code the directors are not to receive any compensation except for reasonable per diems. The SSS per diem is set at P40,000 per board meeting and P20,000 per committee meeting. A maximum of two board meetings and two committee meetings are held in one month. That means a board member could get as much as P120,000 a month or P1,440,000 a year if the board member attends all board and committee meetings. The performance-incentive system states that the bonus a board member gets is equivalent to 100% of the total per diems he or she got for the year.

    The SSS is supposed to provide meaningful protection to members and their beneficiaries against the hazards of disability, sickness, maternity, old age, death, and other contingencies resulting in loss of income or financial burden. For the attainment of its objective the SSS maintains a provident fund which consists of voluntary contributions of employers and employees, self-employed and voluntary members and their earnings.

    The SSS is directed and controlled by a Social Security Commission, or, as now commonly referred to, the board of directors. The law that created the SSS provides that the commission or board of directors be composed of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, the SSS president, and seven appointive members, three of whom shall represent the workers’ group, at least one of whom shall be a woman; three the employers’ group, at least one of whom shall be a woman; and one, the general public whose representative shall have adequate knowledge and experience regarding social security, to be appointed by the President of the Philippines. The chairman is designated by the President of the Philippines from among its members.

    The general conduct of the operations and management functions of the SSS is vested in the SSS president who serves as the chief executive officer responsible for carrying out the program of the SSS and the policies of the board. The SSS president should have had previous experience in the technical and administrative fields related to the purposes of the SSS.

    The SSS Chairman is Juan B. Santos. He spent most of his working life with the Marketing Department of Nestle Philippines, retiring as its chairman, chief executive officer, and president in 2003. He served as Secretary of Trade and Industry during the presidency of Gloria Arroyo but resigned as one of the Hyatt 10 after the exposure of the “Hello Garci” tapes in 2005. Because of his vast experience in the private sector and his stint as Secretary of Trade and Industry, he has been invited to sit in the board of directors of some of the top corporations in the country.

    He did not need to be compensated well to accept his appointment as chairman of SSS as he must be compensated handsomely by the giant corporations in whose boards he sits. I tend to think he accepted the position to devote his remaining productive years in the service of the country and of the working class.

    Bienvenido Laguesma, 62, Secretary of Labor and Employment of President Joseph Estrada, Daniel L. Edralin, 62, and Marianita Ouano Mendoza, 57, are the three directors representing the workers’ group. Because of their age and their field of specialization, the SSS could not have competed with the private sector to enlist their services and therefore they did not have to be enticed with generous compensation packages to join the board of the SSS.

    Diana Pardo-Aguilar, 49, and Eliza Bettina R. Antonino, 35, are the other directors representing the employers’ group. Pardo-Aguilar is the daughter of Jose Pardo, of the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores and the Wendy’s Hamburger chain. She put in years in both business enterprises. She has an MBA from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from De La Salle University. Ms. Antonino was vice-president of Business Development at WEMILCO Management and Development Co. from January 2003 to September 2004. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 2000. The work experience of the two ladies does not suggest that the SSS had to compete fiercely with the private sector to lure them.

    Ibarra A. Malonzo, 68, is the 8th director. The Internet does not provide information about his work experience. It does say though that he has bachelor’s degrees in English and Comparative Literature and in Law from the UP. His age alone indicates that he was not employed in the private sector at the time he was appointed director.

    SSS vice-chairman and president De Quiros has over 30 years of banking and finance experience. He was executive vice-president at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and head of the BPI Asset Management and Trust Group. He was at one time chief technology officer and treasurer of Far East Bank. He is an MA and a Ph.D in Economics from the UP. He is well qualified to be president of the SSS.

    As the other directors have no extensive experience in investment banking nor are they involved in SSS’s operations, the increase in the SSS provident fund can be attributed to De Quiros investment skills only. But De Quiros himself said that on the investments front, the SSS earned only P26.45 billion from private equities and government securities that brought in P15.54 billion and P10.91 billion, respectively, due to a higher level of portfolio and stock market gains last year. That is only about a quarter of the P100 billion increase in the fund.

    The Commission on Audit also chides the SSS management for being remiss in their responsibility under the SSS law for failing to collect over P367 million in premiums and penalties from 139 delinquent corporations and employers.

    On top of it all, the SSS has failed to provide meaningful protection to members and their beneficiaries against the hazards of disability, sickness, maternity, old age, death, and other contingencies resulting in loss of income or financial burden.

    On this basis, the P1-million bonus given each director of the SSS is not only unjustified but is immoral as well. De Quiros should have consulted his brother Conrado, the fountain of wisdom when it comes to moral and ethical conduct of people in government service, before deciding to give away so much money to undeserving people.

  31. The SSS has invested heavily in stocks. It has turned bearish nowadays. I remember during the time of Gibo Teodoro’s dad, he conservatively invested only in government securities (CBCI and T/B) to prevent loss of investments. What, now, Mr. Emil Quiros? I hope the stocks slump worldwide will not affect SSS investments and the Reserved Funds.

      • Joe America says:

        I looked up the law that established SSS in 1997.

        SSS is a state corporation guided by commissioners appointed by the President and with a Cabinet Secretary as one of the commissioners. It issues annual reports to the President and Congress, but is empowered to run its own affairs, including setting the salaries and benefits of members. The law is one of those overbearing masses of detail and fixed amounts that are not adjusted for inflation. In other words, obtuse and unbearably impractical. To wit, this information is in the national law, awards for bodily harm:

        One thumb 10
        One index finger 8
        One middle finger 6
        One ring finger 5
        One little finger 3
        One big toe 6
        One hand 39
        One arm 50
        One foot 31
        One leg 46
        One ear 10
        Both ears 20
        Hearing of one ear 10
        Hearing of both ears 50
        Sight of one eye 25

        • I have realized that a lot of details and micromanagement in the Philippines are exactly because discretion is so often abused. Promotions for army officers have to pass through Congress to prevent patronage, road naming as well to prevent street naming patronage…

          Vitangcol probably was trusted by Abaya and misused his position to get his uncle a contract for the MRT. Now all is well and good, but if you are greedy then at least deliver.

          More suspicious Filipinos would say: Abaya and Vitangcol connived – kuntsaba in Filipino.

          A naive foreign manager in charge of a group of Filipinos may soon find them playing their own games behind his back, reporting total nonsense especially if he does not check.

          So it’s usually either total inflexibility or latitude given is abused to the point of no return.

          • Establishing honesty and trust in a society that has been both distrustful and dishonest in the past and often still is – that is the main conundrum of honest Noynoy’s Daang Matuwid.

            Aside from moral questions which some “praktikal” people in the Philippines view with disdain – praktikal BTW is not English practical, it is more like Binay’s or Poe’s attitude…

            Honesty and trust reduce transaction costs, the overall community is more efficient, which is why the most honest and trusting societies (Scandinavians, Dutch, Swiss) are ahead…

          • Joe America says:

            The checks and balances here are not checking and balancing. The Senate is a bunch of unprincipled political slugs. The President is courageous and principled and pays the political piper.

  32. Retired SSS members file class suit to recover excessive bonuses
    By Reinir Padua | Updated November 20, 2010 – 12:00am

    MANILA, Philippines – A group of Social Security System (SSS) members filed yesterday a suit at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court seeking to compel the current SSS leadership to recover the huge bonuses allegedly received by former officials of the agency.

    Members and officers of the Philippine Social Justice Foundation (Philjust), Inc. filed a petition for mandamus and named as respondents the SSS, its president Emilio de Quiros Jr. and the Social Security Commission that manages and invests SSS excess money in common shares of stocks listed in the stock exchange.

    Lawyers Samson Alcantara, Romeo Robiso, Pedro Dabu Jr., Lope Feble and Mariano Santiago, all members of Philjust Inc., said they filed the suit as members of the SSS. The suit was raffled off to the Quezon City RTC Branch 105.

    “It is respectfully prayed of this honorable court that judgment be rendered commanding the respondents to immediately take legal steps to recover the per diem, bonuses, and stock options received by its nominees in the different board of private corporations so that the same may become part of the funds of the system,” the petition stated.

    The petitioners said they have written a letter to the SSS requesting for legal action to recover the money that belongs to the agency, but current officials of the agency have refused to recover what is due SSS members.

    “Obviously, respondents are protecting their former officials to the damage and prejudice of the individual petitioners in particular and all the SSS members in general,” the petitioners claimed.
    Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

    The group cited that the per diem, bonuses and stock options received by five officers from 2007 to 2010 – amounting to P178,743,634 – was “money legally due to the working class.”

    The Social Security Commission purportedly invested the SSS Investment Reserve Fund at Philex Mining Corp., Union Bank, First Philippine Holdings Corp., Belle Corp., Security Bank, Alliance Tuna International Inc., and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines.

    “It was discovered during the (Senate) committee hearings that certain SSS officers, who served as the agency’s representatives to the board of private corporations where the system has investments, have received huge bonuses and stock options,” the petitioners stated.

    Among the former SSS officials cited in the petition were retired Gen. Thelmo Cunanan who received P132, 656,655.07 in bonuses and stocks from 2007 to 2010; Romulo Neri (P17,256,300 from 2008 to 2010), Corazon de la Paz (P20,718,901.15 from 2008 to 2010), Sergio Ortiz (P6,345,278 from 2009 to 2010) and Sergio Apostol (P1,766,400 from 2008 to 2010).

    The petitioners cited that in July 2010, the SSS Legal Department issued a legal opinion that the SSS nominated director “must account for whatever money he received in his capacity as director of the company since the money is considered as government fund.”

    The petitioners said the SSS president and the commission had not taken steps to recover the huge amounts.

    “The money collected from the members as their SSS contribution come from their own sweat and blood. For this reason alone, the respondents who are tasked to carry out aforesaid state policy shall perform their duties well and protect the monies and properties of the system being held by them in trust for its members,” the suit stated.

  33. Senate urges SSS to recover board members’ bonuses
    Published September 1, 2010 3:33pm

    The Senate finance committee on Wednesday urged Social Security System (SSS) officials to recover the money received by at least three of its former board members who sat as directors in private corporations on behalf of the pension fund.

    SSS chairman Juan Santos and president Emilio De Quiros should recover the money received by former SSS chairman Thelmo Cunanan, former SSS chief Romulo Neri, and SSS legal consultant Sergio Apostol while they were on the board of directors of Philex Mining Corp., Unionbank of the Philippines, and First Philippine Holdings Inc., committee chair Sen. Franklin Drilon said.

    Neri, Apostol, and Cunanan were able to sit as directors in those publicly listed companies because SSS, the pension fund for private sector employees, own shares of stock in those companies.

    “I urge [Santos and De Quiros] and the new administration of SSS to institute measures to recover these payments given to their previous SSS commissioners,” the senator said in an interview with reporters Wednesday.

    Citing data from several private companies, he said Cunanan received P132.6 million in per diems and bonuses, profit sharing and stock options, and other bonuses as the SSS representative to the board of Philex, Unionbank, and First Holdings from 2007 to 2010.

    Neri likewise received P44.2 million – P36.9 million were bonuses – while he was on the board of Philex and Unionbank from 2008 to 2010, and Apostol got P25.1 million including P23.4 million in bonuses from 2008 to 2010.

    There was no law that specifically prohibited them from accepting the money from the private corporations, Neri said last week.

    Drilon acknowledged that board members were entitled to per diems, but not to other benefits “appropriated for themselves” through SSS investments.

    “They have no right to this because these are funds given to them because of the investment of the SSS, not because of their investment,” he said.

    The pension fund also holds enough shares in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Security Bank and Trust Co., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Energy Development Corp., Globe Telecom Inc., and Ayala Corp., giving SSS the power to appoint its own directors. —VS, GMANews.TV

  34. Micha says:

    President Aquino has just vetoed pension increase for retirees. He also previously opposed the proposal to cut income tax rates. Both measures would have benefited low and middle income groups.

    P-noy’s stand on those proposals sealed the fate of Mar Roxas’ presidential bid.

    Society of Honor folks should prepare how to engage with a President Binay or a President Duterte by June.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Micha, I am not Philippino. So it is not my role to agitate for or against particular presidential candidates or senators. Such a thing would rightly give offense to Philippino people.

      But there is an old saying ‘There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’. There are some months yet till the election. And even the list of candidates is not yet settled. So I think your comment is a tad premature.

      Bill in Oz

    • Micha

      President Aquino for sure is not a populist President. He is not afraid to go against popular clamor, but decides based on what is for the long term benefit of the country. He could have voiced approval for tax cut, or could have signed the SSS pension hike law since his term is only up to June 30, 2016 noon, and it’s up to the the next administration to inherit what problems will result as the consequence of such populist decisions. He decided to favor the 30+ million currently active members of the SSS and their future benefits vs. the 1.2 million retirees and their current needs.

      He must have already stopped the previous practices (Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo appointed SSS administrators) of appropriating for themselves the dividend (from Belle Corporation and Philex Mining) and per diems for board of directors in various private corporations that the SSS has stock investments in – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Security Bank and Trust Co., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Energy Development Corp., Globe Telecom Inc., and Ayala Corp., giving SSS the power to appoint its own directors and an opportunity to earn dividends that should go to the reserved funds of the SSS instead of to the administrator and board of directors. Bonuses, per diems paid for each directors for board and committee meetings are being audited by the COA nowadays.

      Hard to do a balancing act. He must have a tremendous faith in the maturity of the electorate to decide based on the long term growth and not on instant gratification. Mar has also said the same thing, something about, these things should be studied and discussed in earnest but not now (during the heat of the presidential campaign).

      Mar has a lot of explaining to do. The Official Gazette has come up with an informative post, but judging from the adverse comments of most people, these are not convincing enough. The people are angry or some who are supporters of the opposition candidates are not in a listening mode.

      Some are even posting opinions that say the senate is expecting this veto since their respective twin bill failed to pass, but went ahead so the President will appear uncaring to the electorate, thereby favoring their preferred candidate.

      Pop corn, please.

      • edgar lores says:

        Milady, here you are. The usual drink, madam?

      • Micha says:


        Congress has the power of the purse. If they make spending legislation, the executive should require them to, at the same time, fund it. Being a national gov’t agency, the SSS can never go insolvent. It’s all a matter of politics and President Aquino is not playing the game very well, to the detriment of his endorsed candidate.

  35. Madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: Rody tells us to look beyond his swearing. Right, because we are interested in unearthing skeletons in the closet, skeletons he and Binay usually leaves out in their election agitprop where they make nail-in-the-wall promises that their disposable Disqus “fandom” laps up.

  36. caliphman says:

    I am so ignorant about Philippine social security pension rates but is that 2k pesos hadditional per week, month, or year? What is considered the poverty line and how can retired persons survive if its per month or year?

      • caliphman says:

        Karl, that seems scandalously low. Even the average SSS monthly payout of around 2k per month comes out to 67 pesos or $1.30 per day to buy food, shelter, medicine and other necessities for Filipinos past retirement age. That would not even cover one kids meal at Jollibee. It’s a joke to call it a social security system as it is neither a safety net for poor retired seniors and is just barely a token given almost all the heavy lifting to support these elderly are left to their families.

        And how can the government possibly justiify this pittance as sufficicient amount for the bare survival of these poor retirees? By setting per capita poverty lines at an unrealistically low rate that
        even the minimal SSS starting monthly payout of 1.2k exceeds the official poverty threshold. For example, in 2013 the government the poverty line was just under 10k per YEAR with about 70% of that for food. Really? The SSS can then point out their pensions exceed or are double the income
        needed to classify retirees from bring officially called poor.

        That vetoed 2k increase should be reinstated just for starters. What is needed is a complete review and revamp of the SSS organization, mission and how it can perform a more significant role in helping retired seniors feel financially secure in their sunset years. It is definitely a huge mess and
        hopefully this blogsite can pitch in publicizing it!

        • karl garcia says:

          Yes it is so low, then the retirees have maintenance meds, this would not stop the practice of the seniors being taken care of their young.But, if you increase contributions, the take home pay of each employee would be further reduced, the employers will also not like the idea of increased contributions.Maybe financial literacy is one way of solving this.
          Bill of Oz will write an article, then we will see what needs to be added.

          I heard about the fair tax(US), it is not even being offered by one of the candidates in the US elections,but the idea of removing social security,medicare,and the taxes and reduce it to one tax seems interesting.Could it be done here?

          • Bill in Oz says:

            It’s coming together guys..Thanks for all the comments and links.They are a great help..Bits of it are emerging in my comments over the past day. Just posted one earlier which will definitely be part of it…Not very good at keeping my powder dry :-((

          • caliphman says:


            I dont know if everyone here including the one writng the SSS article has read the piece on the controversy Solita Monsod, noted economist and widely trusted columnist, wrote in the Inquirer recently. Its a very clear analysis of the political and financial situation faced by the country and SSS were the contemplated 2k payout to go thru. She thinks Aquino instead of vetoing the bill should have proposed a more affordable 500 peso increase. Why affordable? Because a comparison with its government twin, the GSIS, the employee contributuion or tax is significantly lower and the payouts comparatively miniscule. As a UP professor with its low pay relative to that earned by her corporate executive husband, she gets 20k a month from the GSIS which is much higher than his SSS pension. Government employees have to fork over 9% of all their wages while the rate paid by non-govt employees is just 3% and then only on a portion portion of earnings. Raising the employee SSS rates and payouts seems a no brainer. A must read!

            • caliphman says:

              Karl, I have not heard of the fair tax proposal because Trump makes me tune out on the GOP debates. A couple of key differences between the US and RP SSS model. The US is a pay as you go vs. RP actuarial approach. The US pushes back when the SSS runs out of money mainly by delaying retirement age and increasing contribution rates. The Philippine iSSS s in a much more viable economic situation as each retiree is supported by 33 workers. In the US, the ratio is 1 to 4, and Japan is much worse with 1 to 1.

            • karl garcia says:

              Just read the article a few minutes ago. Thanks.


  38. Micha

    As I have said earlier, the ball is in the Senate’s court now. They should approve the sister bill passed by the House of Representative. See pic above.

    The people, the electorates should be informed of this process so they will not blame Pnoy and his endorsed candidate.

  39. Bert says:

    “He decided to favor the 30+ million currently active members of the SSS and their future benefits vs. the 1.2 million retirees and their current needs.”—Mary

    I’m not so sure about that, Mary. It could be that an increase in the SSS contribution will affect more big businesses and employers who shoulder a big chunk of employee’s monthly contribution, so big business and employers has more to lose, thus that other twin law pending in the Senate increasing monthly contributions do not have the approval of big business, thus was not submitted to Malacanang. And so, this veto is being considered by many as anti-labor, anti-poor, and pro-business.

    As Micha said, and I agree with her, SSS, being a national government agency and with Congrees having the legislative power of the purse, can never go insolvent.

    I think this defense of SSS bankruptcy is just a ploy, a kind of trickery employed by the defenders of this veto, to justify an unjustifiable wrong political move by the administration.

    • “As Micha said, and I agree with her, SSS, being a national government agency and with Congrees having the legislative power of the purse, can never go insolvent.” – Bert

      That is part of the explanation given by the government at the Official Gazette FB account. The budget usually proposed by the executive, screened then approved by the Congress can easily fill the deficit by way of subsidizing it with the consequence that other budgetary requirements will be limited – defense, education, health, etc. Until we can find another Malampaya oil deposits to sustain all these, where will we get the funds? Monetary sovereignty is still a dream, a futuristic dream for a small country like ours.

      We need to face the facts, and be realistic. Congress, do your thing, Senate, please pass the sister bill already passed by the HoR. Then the president can sign the Pension hike law.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      “Being a national gov’t agency, the SSS can never go insolvent. It’s all a matter of politics and President Aquino is not playing the game very well”

      Hey Bert, are you serious ? You use the words “playing the game”. Come on lets think about this from the perspective of the rest of the world… Giving the poor elderly retired a pension increase is a great idea. But always it needs to be funded.

      The government has tried to arrange this.That is being prudent; that is being responsible. And the Senate has by ‘playing the game’ stuffed around the poor elderly pensioners .

      I do hope that Aquino has the nous to get this message out to ordinary Philippino people. Then they can put the pressure on their political servants in the Senate..

      Bill In Oz

      • Bert says:

        Bill, I did not say that. What I did say was this:

        “As Micha said, and I agree with her, SSS, being a national government agency and with Congrees having the legislative power of the purse, can never go insolvent.

        I think this defense of SSS bankruptcy is just a ploy, a kind of trickery employed by the defenders of this veto, to justify an unjustifiable wrong political move by the administration.”


        Do you find anything wrong with that?

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Bert you are right.You did not say it.Micha did. here is her comment to Mary Grace:
          “Micha says:
          January 15, 2016 at 10:38 am


          Congress has the power of the purse. If they make spending legislation, the executive should require them to, at the same time, fund it. Being a national gov’t agency, the SSS can never go insolvent. It’s all a matter of politics and President Aquino is not playing the game very well, to the detriment of his endorsed candidate. ”

          So I apologise to you.But my comment though misdirected stands.

          Micha , the government is being prudent; is being responsible. And the Senate has by ‘playing the game’ stuffed around the poor elderly pensioners .

          By the way..I was for 17 years an active member of the Australian Labor Party. And as I hope is clear from my other comments, I am pro labor. But I am also in favor of encouraging businesses as they are indeed they major source of employment. But there is a need for a fair & effective industrial/employment relations legal framework. That seems missing in the Philippines.

          • There was nothing similar to the Labor Party (or Continental European Social Democrats) in the Philippines before Marcos days. The NP and the LP more or less were similar to the US Republicans and Democrats before. So pro-labor stuff and unions became something monopolized by Communists. Kilusang Mayo Uno of the late Crispin Beltran is NDF (National Democratic Front) just like Anakpawis, Gabriela and the New People’s Army.

            PDP-Laban which is now Duterte’s party did become a bit of a pro-labor democratic group post-Marcos. With Duterte I think it is going in the same direction as the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazis) which started off as a leftist radical group at the outset…

            The German legal framework for industrial and employment relations is something the Social Democrats and the unions close to them – as well as the Christian Democratic worker’s federation – built after the Second World War. Worker’s councils are an important aspect of this, they are mandated to be part of the supervisory board of corporations, are a place workers can go to in case they have concerns – health, safety, big bad bosses. And collective bargaining agreements make sure workers have their share of progress.

            This kind of stuff keeps the communists out, who used to cause trouble for industry during the Weimar period, and Nazis too. Nazis profited from Jewish dominance in big retail and the resentment their wealth caused when a lot of people were poor post World War I. Jews were also very strong in the agricultural trade sector in times when many farmers were poor and semi-literate. Reforms in that area after World War 2 especially by Christian Democrats kept the same situation from arising again. It’s always about dispossession.

            One German Jewish retail magnate who left for New York was BTW Billy Joel’s grandfather. As for Einstein, he grew up in the Munich slaughterhouse district, can’t find much about his father but he may have been a cow trader or something similar back then.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Irineo, I was puzzled back in November when APEC happened in Manila. There was a procession/demonstration paraded down Blvd Quezon..I thought protesting about APEC ? Duh ? The Philippines stands to benefit greatly from APEC because of the relocation of jobs from countries like the USA, Canada, Australia to low labor cost APEC countries.

              Similarly I saw a report this morning about a demonstration by left wing protesters protesting that the Supreme Court OK’d the recent agreement for the USA to use 8 bases in the Philippines. Again Duh ??…The only reason for the USA to be interested in these bases is to help the Philippines in the ‘disagreement’ with China over the West Philippines sea.

              Why isn’t the Labor movement, and all the various the Socialist groups, acting on behalf of Philippino workers, the unemployed, the under employed and the poor to improve wages & conditions ?

              • Filipino leftists are usually Maoists – the NDF ones are for sure – and thefore anti-US, probably pro-Chinese, and Duterte’s links to the NPA plus his statements that the Philippines should make friends with China round off the whole Manchurian picture.

                There are a few leftists who are not Maoists. But Walden Bello for example is caught up within the usual Attac/Occupy orthodoxy, in fact he is a globally recognized contributor. None of the classic Labor/SocDem people around, don’t know about TUCP though…

              • karl garcia says:

                There were enough protests by KMU and TUCP about minimum wages, certain labor practices of certain companies.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                “There were enough protests by KMU and TUCP about minimum wages, certain labor practices of certain companies.”

                I confess to not knowing what KMU and TUCP mean Karl. Are they trade unions ? Worker associations ?

              • TUCP = Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, I think more traditional labor group.

                KMU = leftist group, even if the late Crispin Beltran moved it beyond Maoist orthodoxy and considered the Philippine situation in his way of seeing things, he was not just a parrot.

              • karl garcia says:

                kmu= kilusang mayo uno. may 1 movement. may 1 is labor day in the philippines

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thank you Irineo & Karl for the replies. I have been doing some basic background research the past hour or so for the Social Security blog.. I am amazed that there unemployment is not covered by the social security system..It is in fact more like a government authorised & managed privately employed insurance system where to be a ‘beneficiary’ you have to be employed.

              • karl garcia says:

                I know welfare is different,but DSWD or department of social welfare and development handles welfare cases,this current administration has a conditional cash transfer program.The next administration may scrap the whole program if for some reason,he or she does not want that program.

              • Karl, it became clear to me that 4Ps/CCT is not institutionalized, i.e. it depends on the will of the President to continue with it. Why isn’t it? Why were no bills passed to do so?

                It is a form of affirmative action for the poor. Brazilians were the first to do that with Bolsa Familia in the 1990s:

                Germany reformed its welfare system in the early 2000s with the – old people who get too small pensions are given welfare on top. So the pension system and top-ups are different computations and the first is not drained. Some say that the Hartz concept created a new underclass, I would say it prevented things from getting much worse, especially unemployment insurance from breaking down.

              • RE – the source compares different European country’s approaches.


                Works councils exist to ensure that some of the key decisions at the workplace are not taken by the employer alone but involve representatives of the workforce. However, the works council cannot consider just the interest of the employees. Its legal basis is to work together with the employer “in a spirit of mutual trust….for the good of the employees and the establishment”. At the same time the law recognises that there will inevitably be conflicts between the interests of the employer and the workforce, and also makes it clear that trade unions have a separate duty to protect the interests of their members.

              • karl garcia says:

                the magna carta for the poor was vetoed,maybe because some mathematician in the palace said it is not viable.


              • karl garcia says:

                Maybe it should not have been vetoed(the magna carta for the poor), implementation would still take time. If no budget because of no revenues, then let it be like other programs which took years before it took off.
                As for the case of SSS, maybe it should not have been vetoed as well, make measures it would not go bankrupt faster than the estimated 2029, by ensuring collection of remittances and all collectibles especially accumulated interest from delinquent salary loans. A program too check on all the investments and assets. Also check if a complete overhaul is needed.
                The fat bonuses of the board,etc.
                But what’s done is done. Let us see if they over ride it.

              • karl garcia says:

                The Monsod article linked by Joe made things clearer.Very clear.

              • wrote something similar to monsod somewhere up.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks Gian, I read it now.

              • The Magna Carta for the Poor had totally crazy provisions like a right to housing financed by the government, which Aquino computed in a very simple example would cost ALL the yearly budget the government has. No, the SGB (Social Security Code) of Germany is NOT about rights except for those who can’t take care of themselves anymore – the very old, handicapped or sick. And it even has provisions that force children to contribute to helping their parents if their parents are very poor and the kids have money to spare.

                Other things in the SBG are rules that force the longtime jobless to accept even “one Euro Jobs” the government provides – like cleaning streets or recycling electronic parts.

                Housing as available, according to priority: single mothers first, old men second etc.

              • edgar lores says:

                Second that.

              • karl garcia says:

                How did this pass the technical working group stage.What is the use of inviting resource persons when you only pretend to listen to them.technical suggestion group should be the name of twg. and the resource persons are just talk show guests.

              • Karl you don’t even need resource people for that, just basic multiplication.

                We are not even asking for algebra. Not even percentages or dibay-dibay.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Here in Oz there was a charismatic PM named Bob Hawke.. In the early 1980’s after a very confronting experience, he made a public statement of Labor government policy. “By 1990 no child will live in poverty” Ummmm..
                In 1990 the entire county was sliding into a major recession and poverty increased…As did the number of kids living in poverty..

                So much for big “policy announcements”.

                Change happens one day at a time,one person/family at a time./

                Bill in Oz

    • chempo says:

      “SSS, being a national government agency and with Congrees having the legislative power of the purse, can never go insolvent.”

      Wow, then Aquino should implement an increase of SSS payout to Peso 20,000 instead of 2,000, then Mar will surely win 2016.

      Remember Bernard Madoff and his ponzi investment scam?. Just wonder how many pension funds of various governments he cheated. You think those govts will top up their pension fund agencies bank balance?

      • Bert says:

        chempo, is that a serious statement, or is that sarcasm?

        I am in awe of your accounting acumen from reading of your various posts in the Society and so I’m quite puzzled by your analogy of 20,000 and 2,000 as quite an equal proportionate amount in increasing the retirees pensions.

        Do you think it’s wrong to say that a P2,000 increase is more manageable than a P20,000 increase in terms of Congress legislating laws that would avert bankruptcy of SSS in the future?

        I’m sorry chempo, I’m not very good in English you might not get what I am trying to say but if you may indulge me with my question I would appreciate it.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Bert I will reply.. If Aquino was really only working to secure Mar Roxas’ election as President in May, he could have organised a bill through the House & Senate granting 20,000 pesos a month to pensioners…and guaranteed Roxas election..
          But the president is not that kind of person.He is trying to be responsible. And I hope he will also talk directly to the Philippino people telling them that the veto happened because of the senate’s game playing..And if the senate stops playing games then he will as a president who cares for poor pensioners, if course approve the bill.

          There’s only 23 senators so if a few of the poor pensioner folk affected by this ‘game’ emailed or wrote or phoned or camped outside the offices of the recalcitrant senators, ( A very old fashioned protest method ) ..I’m sure that they would reconsider ..

          • Bert says:

            Okay Bill, I understand. The reason for my response to chempo’s statement was that chempo quoted my statement, statement attributable to Micha, which is this:

            {“SSS, being a national government agency and with Congrees having the legislative power of the purse, can never go insolvent.”}

            That gave me the impression that chempo was challenging the viability of that statement, that SSS will go solvent if the P2,000 increase in pension is approved by the President. That caused me to react. I’m sorry for the wrong impression.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Fine Bert..No problem..

              By the way Governments can go insolvent – big time ! Check out Germany 1922-3. Check out Argentina in 2001. Checkout Greece in 2015. Checkout Venezuela right now….
              And closer to my home, the Victorian state government in 1990 closely followed by the South Australian government in 1991…Big busts that lead to major economic & social unrest with high inflation & high unemployment..I suggest that the Philippines really does not want or need such an event…

            • chempo says:

              Bert, sorry no sarcasm meant. Perhaps I put it impudently. Just trying to say SSS can go bankrupt if actuarial tables are abused. Payouts can only be improved if premiums increase, life expectancy averages drop, or funds earnings improve and members get bonus. However being a retirement fund, great leaps in earnings is a cause for concern because it likely means funds are invested in risky assets. I think 2013 or 2014 they had great earnings.

              • Bert says:

                Thank you chempo for indulging me.

              • Micha says:

                chempo, there is nothing to prevent Congress, by virtue of its legislative power, to direct, instruct, and authorize another arm of the national gov’t, the finance department, to allocate whatever necessary funds the SSS may, in the future, need to continually meet its obligations to its member pensioners. Your problem is that you are only assuming the SSS is a stand alone agency devoid of contingent assistance from the national gov’t.

                I repeat, it’s all about politics. The money part is easy.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Micha it seems you do not ‘get’ the big picture this issue.

                SS is not really a government social security system as established by governments in other countries.. The Philippino Social Security system is an independent statutary authority body set by the Philippino Congress.

                However it is really just an ‘insurance fund’ set up to cover employees in private industry in the Philippines. It offers benefits to members if they are injured at work, if they become pregnant, when they retire and a range of other unfortunate situations. But it does not cover casual employees.It does not cover sub contractor type employment. It does not cover people in the informal sector of the private economy.

                The government & congress’s role is that of being a ‘trustee’ to ensure the fund is well run for the benefit of all members. But checking through the comments on this blog ( thank you Mary Grace !! ) and what is published elsewhere, it’s clear that this insurance social security fund has been poorly managed in past decades.There are also allegations of company contributions, paid on behalf of employees being diverted to private bank accounts. There are allegations of major conflicts of interest where directors of the SS were also directors of companies which SS invested in. There are allegations of directors being significantly overpaid and being paid various unusual amounts for what look like private expenditures by directors.There are allegations that the way that benefits are distributed unfairly favors richer members over poorer members. I think from memory that the Philippino Ombudsman has made a couple of rulings about these payments ordering that they be paid back…

                Has this situation improved in the past 5-6 years ? I don’t know. Perhaps you could do some researching & digging & find out.

                I suggest that the membership of the SS statutary authority would benefit from appointing a forensic auditor to go through the books and question the management.

                None of this is politics. But it is background to the recent presidential veto of the congress bill that directed the SS authority to pay pension increases of 2000 pesos a month to poorer pension fund members. The Senators in their wisdom decided not to authorise collection of additional contributions from current members to fund the 2000 peso increase. And so the increase was ‘unfunded’..This would over time undermine the financial stability and capacity of the whole SS fund…That is it would go bust.

                You comment…” Never mind that Congress can bail it out.It’s all a game. And the Congress can not go bust.” Duhhhhh ??? Are you serious or just completely naive ?

                Countries can & do go bankrupt. It happens because of political incompetence such as you are suggesting. It has devastating impacts on the lives of ordinary less wealthy people while the rich see what’s coming and get their money offshore. I have friends who went through the Argentina sovereign debt crisis & bankruptcy in 2001-2. Their lives were stuffed up big time. I would never wish that on the Philippines and the people of the Philippines.

                Underlying this whole discussion is another bigger one : the lack of a real, well run tax payer funded national social security system. Could one be created, funded & managed in the Philippines ? I do not know. But you seem concerned about the less well off in the Philippines. So am I. But I am an Australian living currently far way. Why don’t you do some checking & see if a real, well run tax payer funded social security system could be set up ?

                Bill in Oz

              • Bert says:

                “The Senators in their wisdom decided not to authorise collection of additional contributions from current members to fund the 2000 peso increase. And so the increase was ‘unfunded’..This would over time undermine the financial stability and capacity of the whole SS fund…That is it would go bust.”—Bill

                “chempo, there is nothing to prevent Congress, by virtue of its legislative power, to direct, instruct, and authorize another arm of the national gov’t, the finance department, to allocate whatever necessary funds the SSS may, in the future, need to continually meet its obligations to its member pensioners.”—Micha

                My take on this:

                Both Bill and Micha are correct. So what is the argument all about?

              • Joe America says:

                I think the argument is that the Senate declined to accept the political burden, during an election year, of approving an increase in SS payments by employees and businesses, and expects the President to assume the entire political burden of accepting the increased payout and finding ways to make the funds whole without the Senate’s help.

                Generally, it is not the “government failing to collect payments” but “businesses and individuals failing to make them.”

                In other words, the Senate lacks courage, whereas the President does not. And he understands that collecting payments is difficult when people, and the culture, make avoiding the payments fairly normal. Instructional is the challenge the BIR has had at getting people to pay their taxes. It is easy to scream at the President. It is not easy to scream at the population that accepts cheating as okay.

              • Joe America says:

                Also lacking is the means to quickly punish those found to have cheated by not making their payments. The investigation/judicial environment does not support enforcement of laws in most arenas. That’s why traffic laws are generally avoided (people wearing helmets or seat-belts only going through check points). Tickets are not written, and there is no easy way to collect on fines. Who is going to throw a pauper into jail for not paying a ticket he has no money to pay.

                So the root root cause is poverty.

              • Joe America says:

                And, of course, people accept cheating because legislators do. That’s why legislators are in jail and why they use investigative hearings to get political revenge. So there is also that aspect of why things don’t work the way they are supposed to in a law-abiding nation. The nation is not law-abiding by way too many people, some in power.

              • chempo says:

                Micha, I have no arguments with the powers of the Congress to increase SSS rates if it’s so written in your constitution. But powers need to be exercised prudentially. Fiduciary responsibilities over-ride political expediency. Joe’s take on this says it all.

                “Your problem is that you are only assuming the SSS is a stand alone agency devoid of contingent assistance from the national gov’t.”
                That is preciously the point. Increased payouts need funding, where’s it coming from? Did any Congressman address this? Leave it to the admin budget to handle this? When Adbad cuts spending by other sectors to fund this, then what, middle finger the admin for cutting someone’s budget?

                Those Congressmen would have been more helpful if they go and pursue those SSS management who pocketed millions in illegal bonuses from the fund.

              • Micha says:

                @Bill in Oz

                The parent agency of SSS is Department of Finance.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Micha I suggest that this is beside the point.The SSS is not a governmnet Department funded with tax payers money.

                The SSS is set up as an independent statutary body with it’s own board of directors. It functions independent of government.It reports to the secretary of the Dpt of Finance via annual reports….And the government Dpt of Finance is a ‘trustee’ fir the actual members who pay each month..

                This may sound like legal hair splitting but it is very important. The key question to ask is “what are the major characteristics of a real national social security system ?” Would you like to suggest a few as part of this discussion. maybe we could put together a ‘ideal model’ for the Philippines

              • Micha says:


                Somebody has pointed out that some SSS pensioners receive as little as 1,200 Php every month. If there’s any fiduciary responsibility on the part of its administrators at all, it would be most appropriate to increase that amount.

              • Joe America says:

                The sequence has to be correct. Solvency first, or what’s the purpose? Then as generous as payouts can be, balanced against the rates people pay in, and the level of collections that can be gathered in a nation of cheaters.

                Correcting the cheating is probably step two after assuring solvency. Then payments balanced, out and in.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Yep..Interesting isn’t it..I know someone who is living on exactly that amount a month. Life is very very difficult for her. Fortunately she has her own home. Now the key question is to ask why ?

              • chempo says:

                @ Micha, I know you are a people-person, you wish the best for the poor. So would most people, me included.

                Pnoy’s fiduciary responsibility is not to the pensioners who are denied the increase. The responsibility is to the whole membership of the fund which includes the millions who are presently contributing. That means making sure the SSS is run properly, at the core of which is making sure that contributors who pay a certain stated premium receives a pre-computed sum based on actuarial tables. Every retirement fund in the world works on this basis. Sometimes, members gets a bit more. But that is by way of discretionary bonuses as a result of the funds having better earnings.

                The Congressmen pushing for the payout increase are not stupid. Of course they understand payouts are tied to premiums paid. They know for sure Pnoy will veto this. It’s just a political ploy to discredit the admin, thus loosing votes for Mar. To be taken in by all this is so silly.

                Are we saying Pnoy has no heart in increasing the payout from 1,200 to 2,000? Did I hear anybody saying Pnoy has a great heart when he increased recipients of the CCT programme to millions?

              • “The nation is not law-abiding by way too many people, some in power.”

                “Nation of thieves” is what some Fraport people said in anger during the NAIA3 thing.

                Well that really isn’t nice – there are other “nations of thieves” like Russia and Romania.

                Many over there don’t get how money is earned and how value is created in an economy.

                There are the rich and the state, and you can just get their money because they have it.

                Or there was Marcos, who printed his own money, blowing foreign debts up immensely.

              • “Did I hear anybody saying Pnoy has a great heart when he increased recipients of the CCT programme to millions?” hey he is from the government.

                May pera naman ang mga iyan, mayayaman naman sila – they are rich, is the attitude of many Filipinos. This is the kind of attitude many relatives of migrants left at home have. Well, in the Philippines a lot of wealth is not created by real work, but just stolen…

                True economic and financial literacy is something a lot of Filipinos still have to learn. Centuries of oppression have created a “poor culture” in every sense, a mendicant culture and there might be those who hate CCT for demanding proven good habits…

              • ” Their lives were stuffed up big time. I would never wish that on the Philippines and the people of the Philippines.” the Philippines had its debt crisis at the end of Marcos days.

                Marcos printed money like mad. Of course printing more money than value produced in the country via goods and services causes galopping inflation. Add to that the foreign debt incurred and the drop in real value of the peso – the pegged exchanged rate similar to what the Communists did before was not the real value, the real value of dollars on the black market was way higher – made these debts more expensive. It took long to recover. Part of the revolution against Marcos was the middle class whose lives went very troubled.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thank you Irineo for this..I was vaguely aware of this but I knew nobody involved in that Philippino currency crisis..So I was reluctant to mention it.

              • Micha says:

                The SSS is not run properly, it’s been corrupted over the years. That explains the discrepancy and the paltry amount some pensioners get while some of its officers and executives get huge bonuses.

                The act of Congress should always be coupled with legislative funding. Both the money and the resources are there. It’s the political will that is absent.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Hi Micha again..I am not sure if I agree with you. maybe…Maybe not…But frankly I think that cleaning up the existing SS will not solve the real, problem.
                The Philippines has a members funded retirement & insurance fund. It is called a “Social Security System” but it is not.

                There is a huge difference in philosophy, coverage, funding, membership, governance, management etc between the two an insurance fund and a social security system.

              • Bert says:

                Here’s the thing. The great majority in Congress is an ally of the administration. The Senate, except for Enrile, approved it. To say that this is a political ploy to discredit the administration and thus clobbering Roxas chances in the election does not hold water. Even Drilon signed it and I’m sure Drilon is for Roxas.

                I think that President Noynoy is correct in vetoing it. I would maintain my stand though that this a wrong political move by Congress, by the Senate, and by the President at this time nearing the election because by their moves they have clobbered their own candidate for president.

                Silly are they who cooked their own manok even before the cockfight has started. 🙂

              • Bill in Oz says:

                I am perplexed Bert. You say a majority of the senators support the President. But they voted against a bill of the government ! And shot themselves in the foot. Very curious..

                By the way Joe, Chempo, Irineo, Mary Grace karl et al..I have now copied all the materials & comments made here onto a separate document..For distilling and thought

              • Joe America says:

                I’m wondering if Senator Enrile is too strong to oppose. No one wants him as an enemy. He knows too much, or is too nasty as a fighter. Best to stay out of the way. Go with the flow.

              • karl garcia says:

                Let the distillation begin.

              • Bert says:

                “I am perplexed Bert. You say a majority of the senators support the President. But they voted against a bill of the government ! And shot themselves in the foot. Very curious..”—Bill

                Bill, I did not say that. What I did say was, the great majority in Congress is an ally of the President, and the Senators, except for Enrile, approved that bill vetoed by President Noynoy.

                By the way, what government bill are you referring to that the Senators voted against?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ahh ! I misunderstood you…The senate approved increasing the monthly payment by 2000 pesos..But blocked the associated bill to fund this increase…

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t know if you have this commentary or not. Solita Collas-Monsod is usually a strong voice of reason and good values.


              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Joe..No I did not have it…But it is a thoughtful article…
                The crux of the problem is that the Philippino SS is not a Social Security system…such as I know them in other countries..It is a misnomer…
                But the use of the term “Social Security ” raises expectations…

              • Bert says:

                As to Solita Monsod’s article, Joe, I just read it now.

                I’m with you on that praises for her and also agree with what she wrote except that, although she mentioned government subsidy as a way of helping the SSS survive if in a bind, she forgot to mention about the the more important measure that would save an SSS in financial crisis and that is the other accompanying bill pending in the Senate allowing the SSS to increase member’s monthly contributions. I don’t know if it’s intentional on her part or not, but if intentional I would think of her as the same as those who advocate for the interests of big business and employers rather than one for the interests of labor and employees.

              • chempo says:

                Those legislative politicians who vote for the bill to increase sss payout are screwing taxpayers on the actuarial table.( I learnt baddies from Sonny).

                @ Bert
                The other bill to increase SSS premiums – I don’t know the detail’s.
                1. If contribution rates increase equally
                vis-à-vis employees- employer, then it’s neither pro labour nor pro business. Its neutral.
                2. If benefits for paying members are increased, such as increased payout when the have retire, then there is nothing wrong. Numbers are still observing actuarial tables. This happens when cost of living increases.
                3. If SSS was low on funds and (2) was the solution so as to boost up funds, then it is a wrong fix because the same problem of cash shortage is there when current members retire.
                4. So if there is really cash shortfall what should be done? (a) it means mis- management or poor management. Fix that. (b) do what every business do when short of cash — go borrow. But I hv not heard of pension funds in the loan market. Its a red alert. (c) extend retirement age to delay payouts. Has been done before. But watch out for political fallout.

              • Bert says:

                Okay, chempo, and thank you for the explanations which come across to me as quite satisfactory, I’ve learnt so much from you. You see I’m arguing from intuition and from some minimal stock knowledge that I have and know nothing of the nitty-gritty of these things. Thanks.

              • Bert says:

                “1. If contribution rates increase equally
                vis-à-vis employees- employer, then it’s neither pro labour nor pro business. Its neutral.”—chempo


                I just want to add, for anyone who’s interested, here’s the SSS computation ratio of employer-employee contribution:

                Employee’s part of the contribution (to be deducted from salary)—–P466.70
                Employer’s part of the contribution—————————————— P999.30

                Total amount to be remitted to the SSS by employer——————-P1,466.00

              • bill inn oz says:

                Hi Bert
                That’s roughly what i have calculated also. Can an employee oft to pay more once the 15000 peso cap is reached ?

              • Hello bill it wouldnt make sense because of this:


                The monthly pension depends on the member’s paid contributions, his credited years of service (CYS), and the number of his dependent minor children that must not exceed five. The monthly pension will be the highest amount resulting from either one of these three pension formulae:

                the sum of P300 plus 20 percent of the average monthly salary credit plus two percent of the average monthly salary credit for each credited year of service (CYS) in excess of ten years; or
                forty (40) percent of the average monthly salary credit; or
                P1,200, if the CYS is at least 10 but less than 20; or P2,400, if the CYS is 20 or more.

              • Bert says:

                Can’t answer that, Bill, sorry. Maybe Mary Grace the accountant or karl the Chief Librarian can.

              • Madlanglupa says:

                Has the Honorable Comrade Colmenares even tried to do the math? Does he have his own social security for the near future?


                Since he mentioned Vietnam, we are nowhere near Vietnam because it’s still a communist state despite a free market system.

              • Joe America says:

                Colmenares, like Harry Roque, is on the fringe of rationality, I think, where rational people seek the truth and solutions rather than pogi points.

  40. Calling the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and our honrable members of the Legislative body (Senate and HoR)

    Please make hiring workers on a contractual basis illegal, please. The practice of hiring them for five months and hiring new ones for another 5 months is circumventing both the SSS law and the labor laws. These poor workers do not have security of tenure, endo (end of contract) for life is what is facing them on a regular basis, plus they are not entitled to SSS, Philhealth Pag-ibig, ECC coverage and their benefits. This is also causing the shrinking of SSS membership, with the retirement of older ones, with none to replace them.

    Please do something about this contractual basis of employment and while at it, legislate a higher penalty for all employers who are not compliant with the SSS, etc. laws.

    Please don’t prove right those who say that you are not earning the billions it costs to keep the Senate and the HoR, to the extent of agreeing with Duterte’s outrageous pronouncements like abolishing Congress.


    • karl garcia says:

      That is anti-business.

        • karl garcia says:

          Tongue in cheek Mary.
          This will also be a reply to Bill.
          There are two types of customer services from sales lady.The Rustans and the SM.
          I do not know if Rustans are already contractual,but before they are permanent staff.
          SM sales ladies are temps then when their services are no longer required, those do not call us we will call you will be hired, then the cycle continues.

          Hospital staff I small talked to recently preferred government run hospitals especially with the salary standardization law that was passed recently.They are just waiting for an opening and they will grab it.There other option is abroad.But they are not enjoying their life in private hospital,were the term toxic is given a new meaning.
          So the hospital lets them leave,because there are many who will take their place.

          • karl garcia says:

            But even government does the casuals it is not really endo because it is temporary permanents or contractuals forever.
            This also happen in the state universities to college instructors.

          • This is 4 year old info so. the low end rustan places like shop wise and the super markets use a cooperative to go around the labor laws

            • so many are doing it…the poor workers are changing employers every five months, no SSS, etc coverage, fringe benefits, like 13th month pay, sick leave and vacation leave…how much longer are our workers going to pay for the way the left leaning groups boycotted companies, some of which were forced to shut down? why is the DOLE not doing something about this, or our government?

              • even agencies which provide staff are not treating those staff as permanent employees.

                So if most companies are doing it, and old people are retiring, the number of SSS members are shrinking, I wonder what are their figures.

            • karl garcia says:

              We can no longer Use the SM- Rustan’s comparison, it is now reduced to an urban legend.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Hi Karl
        This is a real issue in the Philippines. I saw staff in hotels & places like McDo’s doing 12 hour shifts a day .

        Closer to home my lady in Manila is suppose to be doing an 8 hour shift.Instead she is doing 12 & 13 hour shifts instead. This is happening because of the lack of qualified experienced staff there. It seems that the hospital management changed a while back.Now they are using unpaid inexperienced ‘trainees’ a lot. If they are lucky after a month they are hired..But mostly they are let go.

        So the extra burden falls on the long time staff who thus need to work extra ( unpaid ) hours..By my count about 15 hours so far this week…

        And this is a Manila major private hospital.Given your background I’m sure you know it. How can staff care effectively, competently for patients when they are exhausted after working 12-13 hours shifts all week ?

        • chempo says:

          I once sat in a taxi whose driver was at the tail end of his 16 hour shift. At several traffic junctions, he had his eyes closed and needed the honking from the vehicle behind him to jolt him into action when the light turns green.

  41. ahh, I found another mud, rotten to the core thank you PCIJ! This is in relation to the Belle Corporation, its shares of stocks sold to the SSS, the substantial loss the SSS incurred in the EBC stocks sold to the SSS at the inistence of Estrada, too… “Ed, hindi naman sa ‘yo ang GSIS at SSS, ‘wag mo na kong pakialaman rito (Ed, GSIS and SSS aren’t yours, so don’t meddle with what I’m doing.)” is ver damning.

    “I was vehemently against the deal,” says Espiritu. “Had GSIS and SSS done due diligence, they would have not lost so much money. After PCI merged with Equitable, the share price went down to an average of P98, and the present value is at P52 to P53. How would you justify that to the members? They lost a lot in the transaction. There was no excuse for that decision.”

    P U B L I C E Y E — T H E M U L T I B I L L I O N – P E S O P R E S I D E N T

    FOR ALL HIS audacity, Jimenez—an upstart with a sleazy past—could not have transacted with some of the country’s biggest and proudest business families if he did not have the President’s backing. The various Jimenez-brokered transactions show how the foremost Filipino business clans were willing to accommodate the less-than-legitimate demands of a greedy president.

    Businessmen are always careful to curry favor with Malacañang. After all, the president as the ultimate executor of government policy can make or unmake businesses, providing openings and relaxing the rules for his friends, while putting the squeeze on their rivals. Says Enrique Razon, whose International Container Terminal Services, Inc. runs several of the country’s ports: “If you have an adversarial relationship with the president, it’s very easy to get squeezed. We have to be friendly with Malacañang to protect ourselves.”

    Moreover, the president has discretionary power over government or quasi-government funds. He can, for example, speed up or delay the release of allocations from the national budget. He also has the power to approve government contracts above P50 million. Although strictly speaking, state corporations and financial institutions are independent, the president can influence their decisions through the men and women he appoints to their boards. A phone call from the president can mean the approval of a hefty loan from a government bank or the restructuring of an overdue debt. It can mean a state firm, whose board is likewise appointed by the president, goes this way instead of that way.

    Other presidents had allowed government financial institutions to favor the businesses of their kin and cronies. But Estrada went farther than his predecessors in the deployment of state pension funds for the purchase of shares in firms ripe for a takeover. He did this by getting the complicity of the heads of SSS and GSIS whom he himself had appointed. GSIS chief Carlos Arellano was one of his boyhood friends while SSS chief Federico Pascual once headed Allied Bank, owned by Estrada crony Lucio Tan.

    Arellano and Pascual “were asked to see Mark Jimenez and deal with him with regard to the Equitable transaction,” says Espiritu, whose official post gave him supervisory authority over all government financial institutions. “Inutusan sila (They were ordered). They knew about the deal.” Espiritu says he himself had resisted the involvement of the two institutions. But the President, he says, merely set aside his objections, saying “Ed, hindi naman sa ‘yo ang GSIS at SSS, ‘wag mo na kong pakialaman rito (Ed, GSIS and SSS aren’t yours, so don’t meddle with what I’m doing.)”

    “I was vehemently against the deal,” says Espiritu. “Had GSIS and SSS done due diligence, they would have not lost so much money. After PCI merged with Equitable, the share price went down to an average of P98, and the present value is at P52 to P53. How would you justify that to the members? They lost a lot in the transaction. There was no excuse for that decision.”

    The biggest winner, of course, was Estrada. Within his first year in office, Jimenez’s wheeling-dealing in just two transactions had netted some P6 billion in commissions. In addition, Estrada found in the merged Equitable-PCI Bank a willing laundromat for his ill-gotten wealth. As documents subpoenaed during Estrada’s impeachment trial show, the bank became the repository of the fictitious Jose Velarde account, where P2.2 billion in apparent payoffs to the President were deposited. The bank also became the conduit for the jueteng money that was coursed through the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation.

    The PLDT and Equitable deals also whetted the former president’s appetite. Jimenez tried to broker more deals, such as the sale of government shares in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which is run by the Lopezes. Jimenez had already spoken to representatives of the family about negotiating a sale to a company that would be friendly to them, says Espiritu, who put his foot down on the transaction. The finance secretary argued that it wasn’t wise to dispose of government shares until the Omnibus Power Bill had been passed. Nonetheless, several government financial institutions were instructed to buy Meralco shares in the market, but the transaction never pushed through.

    At the very least, Jimenez should be credited for opening for Estrada new vistas of the presidency. “It was Mark who put it into Erap’s head that he could make billions,” says a businessman who was in Malacañang often enough to observe the goings on at the Presidential Residence. “It was Mark who convinced him that he could get away with anything as long as he is popular.”

    In the end, it was also Jimenez who would turn against Estrada, by offering in February to testify against the former president so that the fugitive businessman could have a stay on his extradition to the United States.

    BUT JIMENEZ, had a point. In truth, Estrada’s popularity during his first two years in office intimidated his critics. During that period, the institutions designed to check on presidential excesses were for the most part either bullied or bribed into submission: Congress, opposition political parties, even the press. Erap may have even gotten away with plunder if he had been less reckless in the way he made – and spent – his money.

    The machinations surrounding the operation of the BW Resources Corp. and its affiliated BW Gaming and Entertainment Co. were probably the height of presidential recklessness. To begin with, Estrada was Dante Tan’s secret partner in BW, confirms Espiritu. That was why BW became the recipient of so many government favors: an online bingo license given in record time by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the state-owned gaming company; a P600-million loan from the Philippine National Bank that was approved even if the collateral was worthless land; and a contract from Pagcor that ensured the transfer of Pagcor operations to a building that BW was constructing in downtown Manila.

    Moreover, as various officials attested during the impeachment hearing, Estrada intervened on behalf of Tan when he was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for insider trading and stock price manipulation. The President also ordered Jimenez and ethnic Chinese businessmen Wilson Sy and Willy Ocier, whose speculative play in the market was believed to have caused BW prices to fall precipitously in late 1999, to return the money Tan had lost to shore up BW prices.

    “That was the version of Dante Tan when I confronted him about it,” says Espiritu. “That version was also confirmed by the brokers at the Philippine Stock Exchange.” Face to face with an angry president, Sy and Ocier agreed to reimburse Tan’s losses, according to prosecution lawyers in the Estrada impeachment trial. The payoff was supposedly made not in cash but in 650 million shares of Belle Corp. worth P1.5 billion. The shares were turned over not to Tan but to Estrada, who then supposedly sold them to SSS and GSIS at a profit of P800 million.

    Little wonder then that Estrada was splurging on luxury real estate. The billions were fattening up his bank accounts and he refused to take a loss on his investments in companies like BW. In fact, it can be said that as far as BW was concerned, he even made a profit on his loss.

    But that wasn’t all. On top of all these, Estrada was getting regular payoffs from businessmen. The Jose Velarde account gives some clues of just how much the ex-chief executive was raking in. It also gives some indication of the kinds of deals Estrada cut with his cronies. The account had deposits of P170 million in cash and nearly P2 billion in checks, all made in just a five-month period, from August 1999 when the account was opened to January 2000.

    The biggest deposits, according to investigations made by prosecution lawyers with the help of sources in various banks, were from the accounts of Dante Tan, Estrada’s partner in BW; Lucio Co, a suspected smuggler and owner of Duty-Free shops, who is also believed to be Estrada’s partner in a Clark Air Base casino; Ramon Lee, a member of the board of BW; Jaime Dichaves, a long-time presidential friend who is believed to have made deals with telecommunications companies on Estrada’s behalf; and a certain Kelvin Garcia, whom prosecutors believe is really tobacco magnate Lucio Tan.

    In addition, a P40 million-deposit was made by Antonio S. Evangelista, Estrada’s Ateneo high school classmate who has been reported as a shareholder of New San Jose Builders Inc., a company that has bagged multibillion pesos worth of government housing contracts. Evangelista, who owns Kanlaon Construction, also built the former president’s “Boracay” house in New Manila, Quezon City and is constructing a Forbes Park mansion for Guia Gomez, one of Estrada’s mistresses.

    The mansions being built for presidential mistresses appear to be part of the accommodations from businessmen. These allegedly include the constructions done by Centech International, a firm run by Ramon Ang, vice-chairman of San Miguel Corporation (SMC). San Miguel chief Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr., who became SMC chairman with the backing of government nominees to the company’s board, was an Estrada supporter to the end. Centech built the P200-million house on Harvard Street in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong, supposedly as a gift for presidential paramour Laarni Enriquez, and was also the project manager for Gomez’s Forbes Park mansion.

    Click here for more!

  42. …. continuation

    IT IS DIFFICULT at this stage to have a full picture of exactly how much Estrada made and to list down all the deals that he went into. Even the figure of P20 billion accumulated in two-and-a-half years is at best a rough estimate. But certainly, judging from the Velarde account, the former president took a share of the profits made by his various friends in enterprises that ran the gamut of all lucrative businesses, from smuggling to housing, telecommunications and gambling.

    If investigated, other accounts in other banks could yield more clues. Prosecutors say that Estrada, using fictitious names, had accounts in Metrobank (believed to be close to P1 billion); RCBC, where another P600 million is reportedly kept; Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, and Allied Bank. In addition, he kept under his own name, $3 million in Citibank. He also had P143 million in a numbered account in Urban Bank, which he withdrew just before it closed in April 2000. Plus, there was the money that found its way to presidential mistresses, including Enriquez, whose account in PS Bank had deposits of P650 million, many of them from the same bank branches that were transferring money to the Velarde account.

    The illegal profits from jueteng are well documented because of Ilocos Sur Governor Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson’s exposé. We now know that jueteng collections, which totaled P500 million, were paltry in comparison to what Estrada made from other deals. We also know that most of the jueteng money ended up in Equitable-PCI. But the illicit gain from smuggling remains unknown terrain. There are indications that they were quite substantial. Espiritu, who was once the major shareholder of the now defunct Westmont Bank, says that a P58-million cashier’s check deposited in the Jose Velarde account was transacted at Westmont and was traced to Manny Tan Kian Sy, a fertilizer dealer.

    Kian Sy is believed to be involved in the smuggling of rice and sugar, and was among those that Espiritu declined to mention in his Senate testimony last January. Other suspected smugglers who were close to the Estrada were Co, Dichaves and a certain Johnny Sy.

    Much more needs to be investigated if there is to be a full appreciation of the Estrada presidency and the flaws in the system that it made evident. Apart from a liberalization of banking secrecy and tighter regulation of banks, among the reforms that have to be considered are those providing checks on presidential powers and presidential appointees.

    There should, for example, be more transparency in the operations of government financial institutions and other state entities. For one thing, the practice of investing state pension funds in private enterprises should be reconsidered. So should the involvement of government in commercial banking. There is really no reason why state banks should be financing enterprises which, if they were truly viable, could get money from private banks. The Estrada era has shown the urgency of professionalizing the leadership of government financial institutions to make them less susceptible to presidential influence.

    In addition, there should also be mechanisms to allow for a closer scrutiny of the assets and business involvements of people in high office. Certainly, putting Estrada and his accomplices on trial and ensuring that justice is done would be a big step forward and would serve as a lesson to others.

    Ultimately, however, the biggest challenge is how to make the conduct of business more open and accountable and less dependent on political connections and the blessings of the presidential palace. To do this, government entities must be allowed to evolve into autonomous regulators of business and impartial enforcers of policy. This in turn is possible only if the business culture is overhauled and a tradition of patronage and spoils is overcome.

    Estrada plundered the country right under the noses of the courts, the Cabinet and Congress. He was the logical product of a system that provided a president such wide discretion that allowed him, in the words of sociologist Walden Bello, to “centralize crime under the presidency.”

    What people power achieved was to oust the Godfather. It was no mean feat, but the rest of the Mafia remains very much in place.

    • Decision on Joseph Estrada’s PLUNDER Case

      In sum, the Court finds that prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the commission by the principal accused former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada of the crime of plunder.

      WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in Criminal Case No. 26558 finding the accused, Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of PLUNDER defined in and penalized by Republic Act No. 7080, as amended.

      The penalty imposable for the crime of plunder under Republic Act No. 7080, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, is Reclusion Perpetua to Death. There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, however, the lesser penalty shall be applied in accordance with Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly, accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the accessory penalties of civil interdiction during the period of sentence and perpetual absolute disqualification.

      The period within which accused Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention shall be credited to him in full as long as he agrees voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners. Moreover, in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the Court hereby declares the forfeiture in favor of the government of the following:

      (1) The total amount of Five Hundred Forty Two Million Seven Hundred Ninety One Thousand Pesos (P545,291,000.00), with interest and income earned, inclusive of the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos (P200,000,000.00), deposited in the name and account of the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation.

      (2) The amount of One Hundred Eighty Nine Million Pesos (P189,000,000.00), inclusive of interests and income earned, deposited in the Jose Velarde account.

      (3) The real property consisting of a house and lot dubbed as “Boracay Mansion” located at #100 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City.

      Presiding Justice
      SGD. FRANCISCO H. VILLARUZ, JR., Associate Justice
      SGD. DIOSDADO M. PERALTA, Associate Justice

      • Bill in Oz says:

        RE Estrada’s court conviction for plunder..There is one fact missing Mary Grace. When was he convicted of this crime ?

        Bill in Oz

        • On September 12, 2007, Joseph Estrada was acquitted of perjury but found guilty of plunder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from public office and forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            And pardoned by Aroyo in 2007 !!!
            “On October 25, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted executive clemency to Joseph Estrada based on the recommendation by the Department of Justice. Acting Executive Secretary and Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye quoted the signed order: “In view hereof in pursuant of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant Executive clemency to Joseph Ejercito Estrada, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder and imposed a penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.”

            • Thus, he was allowed to be a presidential candidate in 2010, lost, so the SC dismissed his disqualificatin case for mootness because of such loss, elected as Manila mayor in 2013 by the star struck masa voters.

              Masa voters, how many more convicted plunderers, how many more alleged plunderers (with strong evidences against them but with cases still pending, not yet filed because of mistaken application of immunity from suit for vice presidents) will you elect to government offices because they were once heroes in the silver screen but actually villains in real life, or those who really good at deception and manipulations through their epal ways?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Aroyo was an idiot..Can’t a presidential pardon be rescinded ? I would think so..

              • Bert says:

                Please, Bill, I hate our former President Gloria Arroyo, but such strong words against her coming from a citizen of another country in a forum established here in this country does not sound music to my ears. I’m sorry, Begging for your kind understanding.

              • Joe America says:

                I think he is referring to her decision to pardon Estrada, not President Arroyo as a person. But I agree, we outsiders should take care. That said, I am going to unload on the Senate in a couple of days.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                I understand Joe…As I said a moment ago to Mary Grace, you have met a more abrasive moment in my Australian temperament..At times I am quite blunt. I will remember in fuure.

                But you should hear how we refer to our own illustrious “pollies’…Tony Abbot the prime minister for example decided in early 2104 to reintroduce knights & dames here. ( Absent since 1974) He then awarded the first one to the Duke of Edinburgh ( Queen Elizabeth’s husband ) A foreigner And did it without any consultation at all.. A decidedly idiotic thing to do. And he was universally told so…He faced a party room revolt 3 weeks later and narrowly survived. But was thrown out in a party vote in September and is no longer PM. His successor is a leader of the Australian republic movement… A delicious irony..

                AS I have said before, ‘pollies’ are our elected servants..I made the unconscious assumption that people other nations feel the same way…

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Hi Bert & Joe, the way that your 2 comments presented themselves in my email was confusing to me..I lost track that it was you Bert who made the first comment and Joe who followed up… And I am tired after a long day on the computer..

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ahhh Mary Grace I did not seek to offend you..You are seeing the blunter side of the Australian temperament

              • Bert says:

                🙂 Give yourself a nice rest from your pc, Bill, and then we can resume the fun after. Better yet, I guess it’s time for Edgar to pass around some popcorn and buckets of SanMig Lite for this thread is humming with activity for quite a time now.

                Might interest you to know what the Filipino people did to our President Gloria Arroyo with the help of our President Noynoy Aquino…she’s now in virtual perpetual imprisonment worse than what you did to your Prime Minister Abbot, charged with a number of plunder cases a non-bailable offense up to now languishing and guarded inside a government hospital for she’s also afflicted with some serious disease, no sign of respite from her predicament unless or until another idiot president or the court come and rescue her.

              • Bill, no one has ever ever known (until now, that is) that many times I let my feelings get a free rein. I type them, and let the pent up frustrations be relieved, delete or cancel the posts afterwards and then either sleep on it or go to FB and share as many post as I can in as many groups as I could find, or play free cell and then return to comment when I’m calmer. Sometimes I type wadapak (like Giancarlo and karl)…

                But the “why the f…k…didn’t they pass the sister bill to fund the pension hike?” was posted, sorry,

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Mary Grace..In an earlier comment ( which I have lost track of ) you mentioned that Pag Ibag is controlled by Binay or his family associates..Could you elaborate on this a little ? I am confused about Pag Ibag. I thought it was a mutual aid home loan group with folks being members and making a deposit regularly to build up a deposit to buy a home.

              • The previous VP Noli De Castro was given two government portfolios during PGMA administration. It was the Housing and the OFW portfolio.

                With regards to the Housing Portfolio the VP was head of the HUDCC

                Under the umbrella of HUDCC are the following agencies:
                HDMF Home Development Mutual Fund or the Pagibig fund -> SSS for housing

                NHMFC -> Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of the Philippines (I dont know what this is in Oz)

                SHFC -> Socialized Housing Finance Corp -> HDMF for marginalized sector

                HGC -> Home Guaranty Corporation -> Government Insurance Corp for Housing

                NHA -> National Housing Authority -> tasked to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated housing program which shall embrace, among others, housing development and resettlement, sources and schemes of financing, and delineation of government and private sector participation.

                HLURB -> Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board -> Issues permits for housing and land use

                As the one given the housing portfolio most of the heads if not all are appointees of the VP by recommendation to the President.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Giancarlo….I am not used to the idea that a VP has real authority..I thought like in the USA he was just the stand-in if anything happened to the president..( Here in Oz there is not VP or president as such )

                But surely given he is facing charges of theft and corruption he would have to stand aside from any active role until the court process is complete ?

              • Yes the same concept but the VP is immune from suit. (Someone really needs to challenge this on the Supreme Court ).

                From the constitution:

                Section 3. There shall be a Vice-President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with, and in the same manner, as the President. He may be removed from office in the same manner as the President.

                The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.

              • karl garcia says:

                in addition the One who heads Pag-ibig is recommended by Binay.She was also one of the choices to be his running mate or vice president for the elections.

              • karl garcia says:

                here if you are vice president, you get to pick an agency or department.Arroyo was DSWD secretary when she was vice president.

    • josephivo says:

      Reading all this and knowing what GMA and Marcos plundered before, one would start to get sympathy for Binay, less mistresses, smaller field to steal from, less cronies… and he still can eat with his fingers.

      • Binay with less cronies? I had to laugh at that one…dummies I found as almost synonymous with cronies, the Tius, Chongs, Limlingan, Baloloy, Hensons of Hillmarks Construction, the officers of his network of companies cornering all businesses in Makati and Pag-ibig, the directors of BSP. His families are involved, all four of them, including sons-in-laws, how many cronies does each of them has? His enablers and campaign contributors now will be his cronies tomorrow. And I’m doubting all their sense of right and wrong considering the strong evidences that were already submitted first in the SBRSC and later at the Ombudsman. And of those included in the 1,200 respondents of the latest SWS survey. Eating with his fingers at various boodle fights had deceived the masa. His epal ways and populist utterances (like those made by Poe, Escudero and Duterte) are acts of deception, too.

        No, Binay is a good disciple of the Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo corruptions and plunder. 30 years of absolute power in Makati has turned him from the freedom fighter of the martial law years to the alleged plunderer that he is now.

  43. “What people power achieved was to oust the Godfather (Marcos and Estrada). It was no mean feat, but the rest of the Mafia remains very much in place.” – PCIJ (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism)

    The rest of the Mafia remains, what I call remnants of the previous plundering regime, now surrounding Grace Poe and the rest of the opposition candidates.

    I have so many friends and relatives who are truly hopeful that this 2K SSS pension hike will be a reality. Imagine their disappointment when they withdrew their pension from their respective ATM accounts last January 16 and found out it’s still P1,200, not enough to buy their basic needs and maintenance meds (true for diabetics and hypertensives, some are already provided by the baranggay clinic, but others have other prescription meds to fill up.

    The cleansing of this mafia is still unfinished. Continuity of good governance is a must.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      This is why being 40 I am considering plans to invest in a small mango orchard and farm, as an additional insurance for the future.

      • My life long dream, Madlanglupa. Right, now, I have to raise enough capital so I need to work in the city. And pay off the condo units, of course, another investment in the urban sector. Meanwhile, the dream is to retire in the rural sector and be in agribusiness.

        Some dwarf coconut trees, mangoes and avocados, perhaps, raising button mushrooms, and other veggies.

        • Madlanglupa says:

          As an aside, my relatives want me to emigrate and get naturalized should the balloon goes up. Screw that, we’ll fight the power here instead.

          • edgar lores says:


            • Make it 2 likes there, the other one from me.

              I was offered 2 opportunities to work in the US but the Ninoy assasination and the ensuing fight for democracy plus family health issues made me decide to stay here and fight a two-pronged battle – dictator and cancer. We won against the former, lost in the latter.

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:


            • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

              Do I want to climb the race and culture wall, or do I just want to fight to the death for what is naturally mine by birth and principle? Fight to the death for what is mine by birthright, I’m sure.

              • I’m in full agreement with you there, Will. Some practical people might call us fools for our idealistic decisions, but I always equate my happiness in knowing I did the right thing, with their happiness in making wealth in the shortest possible time- choices that people have to do every now and then in their lifetime. Happiness and contentment is relative, I think.

  44. NHerrera says:


    I just got back to reading the Dictator Blog again. Congratulations to being appointed The Society’s Chief Muckraker aka Chief of Investigation and Oversight by Joe, our Blogsite host.

    I understand a blog-article to be authored by you is in the offing with assistance of the good people in The Society. Looking forward to that.

    (I note with wonder and thanks the considerable efforts and time you have put on topics discussed here, particularly on the current SSS thing, considering your full-time job to make a living. But please take care of your BP.)

    • Thank you, sir NH. Yes, I am mindful of the BP. I missed all the fun here as I just got in from treating family (a once in a blue moon thing..hehe) at Dad’s in SM Megamall right after my zumba session…wohooo…! back working out and the BP cooperated, not so bad…100/66 instead of the hateful 70/40 months ago considering I didn’t take meds for 2 days now.

      Thanks, Bill for taking this on. Am now trying to assemble my materials for my work from home sideline, just received them last night. My second monitor conked out…not used to working with just one.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        No worries Mary Grace ! It has been an interesting time…I have copied all of the articles/materials you posted here and I will gradually work my way through them , getting a handle on their significance & assessing them for inclusion. – given that there is a limit to the length…

  45. Thea says:

    Who will not be corrupted by the power and by the people that sorround her/him? Although, we can’t have absolute answer, we can say “most likely”. I ve chosen Leni Robredo. And if she will really become a dictator, I hope she will address the –
    1. Culture and Education.
    Filipinos are not dumb. They can be competitive globally. The problem lies in cultivating(education) of a culture of honesty, perseverance, cleanliness, self-reliance and coordination. Filipinos are under achievers on these.
    2. Standard of living
    Even in rich countries, there are poor people. However, if Filipinos can afford to buy them food , build a house, have money for health and retirement, life can be lighter and enjoyable. They will leave the rich to make money.
    3. Renewable energy
    Understandably, these are wind, solar,etc. but I will add marine water energy that is awaiting to be explored.
    4. Mental health
    If there was a survey that 30%(not exact, I don’t have my laptop now) in government employees(Metro Manila) suffered mental illnesses, can we not see the problem around? Drug dependence, corruption, alcoholism, anger, carelessness,etc. these are symptoms of a pathological disorder in mental health, a neuropsycho problem only a dictator can address.
    5. Mindanao
    If you can’t lick them, kick them. There are north-south separations. Chech-Slovakia is one. They have similar descendants but each has their own problems to attend. My view perhaps is very,very controversial but I see it that way. Not all families will gonna live in one house, will separate in one time but still united during circumstances. This view, only a dictator can do.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful, wonderful set of priorities. It is actually refreshing to see “mental health” on the list because it is one topic that the Philippines . . . more specifically, Filipinos . . . are in denial over. And I know that Leni Robredo has asked that, if she is Vice President, she be given the “poverty” agenda.

      I do disagree that it requires a dictator to get these things done. But it does deserve a different mindset in the Congress. More progress as a priority instead of politics as a priority. Even a dictator would be bound to the influences of the oligarchs and others (military leaders) who must generally accede to his wishes, and he to theirs.

      • karl garcia says:

        Yes, imagine the Villar camp using past mental health issues of PNoy to try to win the presidency.
        That is because still shun people with mental illness,which should not be the case.
        Our acceptance of special needs cases is a good step.

        • Madlanglupa says:

          > That is because still shun people with mental illness,which should not be the case.

          It is a sad truth that some of our people still practice this type of bigotry, asides from mocking other races or religions for being “different”.

          • karl garcia says:

            There is something positive that is happenning,more are trying to be politically correct or pretending to,but practice makes perfect.There is still hatred,bigotry.It is always good to know that the reach of tv and the internet has made people aware.

            Still a long way to go for somekind of live and let live maximum tolerance.

          • Then again, some people who appear sane make insane choices. I think I need to stop there.

  46. chempo says:

    It’s a truism that no dictator sets out to be a dictator.

    So my question is out of those 10 names listed, who are mostly to revive cronyism?
    I have 2 in mind, but shall not name names in deference to election laws.
    Why cronyism matters?

    A cronyism economic system is the pathway to Tyranny. We have experienced this before.

    • Joe America says:

      Cronyism to me means the trade of favors, one to another, rather than an emphasis on skill, and so it distorts toward dishonesty. Cronies are more interested in personal good than civic good. So it promotes a gross breakdown in productivity and a gross breakdown in values. Beyond that, I am starting to worry because I’m beginning to parse things like Edgar. But I refuse to number it or put all those little asterisks in.

  47. – interesting, because it definitely vindicates Aquino and his reforms as having been right, their take on continuity I doubt:

    THE Philippines will likely see a “smooth” transition this year with the upcoming elections, analysts from Maybank ATR Kim Eng said in a new report, as the front-runners for the presidential polls are seen to continue the reforms put in place by the current administration…

    Credit raters and bank economists have repeatedly flagged the sustenance of reforms after the Aquino administration as the biggest risk faced by the Philippines as a new set of leaders takes over after elections.

  48. my reaction after reading Ms. Solita Monsod’s article:

    As usual, Mareng Winnie’s take is spot on.

    I will add another perspective:

    If the government pays 9+% GSIS premium based on salary without cap, and the government pays a share of 11+%, then in effect, even the private sector (specifically the salaried middle class sector) are subsidizing part of the government share (they can’t touch the taxes paid, as they receive net of that already), am I correct, Giancarlo?. The government retirees get to have P5K minimum retirement pay and the private ones have to be content with the P1.2K minimum. Where is the fairness, the justice in that?

    As to the business sector that has to pay the additional share of the SSS premium, they are using those as deductible expenses from the gross income derived from business to come up with the amount of corporate tax to be paid, unlike the employees who have to wait until they retire to use the benefits, the usual benefits available while still employed are so small and not applicable to most – not every female gets pregnant to avail of maternity benefits after live or dead delivery or reports miscarriages; not everyone gets sick, or gets incapacitated, salary and calamity loans are paid with interest) that they can be considered irrelevant. Individuals are taxed up to a maximum of 32% while corporations have a slightly smaller cap at 30%,

    Let me correct myself there, the premium deducted from employees are also deductible from their taxable salaries.

    Why can’t we increase the premiums for the private sector? I believe the citizens would understand the plight of their old relatives, surely the P2K increase is higher than the increase of the premiums that they will shoulder. The business sector, likewise, would understand, stockholders and officers are citizens, too who will get old, no one is exempted, call it part of their social services, tax deductible.

    Remember, “tatanda din kayo”, you will get old too, your turn will come.

    • I suspect the first one we have to ask this of are the workers. I suspect that most MWE are really living hand to mouth and not that interested in the long term. The NOW pervades everything. For the private individuals we have to recognize that 60000 PHP is the salary of at least an undersecretary equivalent to a top level career government worker. The equivalent in a bank would be an EVP or SEVP or FEVP. What this tells use is that as PNoy said there is a big wage gap between government workers and private employees. The wage gap on the lower tiers are not that pronounced an in some ways if you are just going to be a driver/messenger or an administrative assistant you have a better future in the public sector compared to the private sector while the reverse is true for the upper positions.

      My take away is that yep I believe in a fair distribution but it has to come from the fund and not the government.

      The SSS/GSIS is in someways a poor thought out substitute for a real Social Security system in the mold of EU welfare states.

      We have to ask the hard questions as a country what are our values? Are we a group of families or a group of individuals comprising the bigger family of a nation.

      If the answer to that question is yes then we have to create a system that helps everyone and not the token help that SSS can provide.

      • Gian, I am trying to get a hook on something – why many people are complaining inspite of the economic growth. What I have often observed in economically growing countries where I have been and know people is that booms cause commodity prices to go up.

        So those earning more because of the boom – usually the well-educated professionals, maybe some among the more skilled workers – have a better life. The less qualified have not so much higher salaries, so they effectively can buy less than what they could before.

        Unfortunately I have not seen any proper reporting on this to prove my conjecture, is it true or not? BTW situations like that tend to calm down once many among the less qualified have managed to set up SMEs from money working abroad – this is something I have seen happen in Eastern Europe. Poland and Hungary stabilized this way and Romania is in the midst of it. Of course those who have gone through bad times are the most selfish when it comes to refugees who might “take away” what they worked hard for.

        • Sounds unrelated in a way to your stuff, but it is somehow related. What would also be interesting is what is the minimum amount of money per month need to “get by” in Manila. I read about the salaries not being enough or hardly enough for teachers, nurses, etc.

          There is also a very useful index of the cost of living: the Big Mac Index. How much does a Big Mac (or Big Mac Meal) cost in Manila? Because McDonalds computes very well, this index is officially used by the British weekly publication Economist to give a rough idea.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Irineo, economic change is destabilising for a society..The benefits are rarely spread equally…
          So those who do benefit are the target of thoughts by the rest “why are they getting more prosperous and I am missing out…” I feel this is happening in the Philippines..So political candidates who promise to make sure all benefit from prosperity are attractive – even if it kills the golden goose !

          • very correct – I have more first-hand, recent observations from Romania. Back in the 1990s they were much more a “nation of thieves” (which is what some German Fraport managers allegedly called the Philippines in anger) than the Philippines ever was… ex-Communist cops allegedly were feared by overland truckers to Turkey for finding anomalies and making things go away for bribes… grades were sold by starving teachers… you got priority in public hospitals against bribes, known as spaga over there.

            Then came NATO and EU membership. NATO may have forced Romania to clean up ex-Communists in the ranks of its military – now they have the best cybersecurity group against Russia, having been the front line of Warsaw pact hacking and intellectual property theft before. Somewhat like hackers joining the FBI, or “Catch me if you can”…

            The EU may have forced the police to conform to Europol standards and metrics, while EU bidding rules which are uniform may have driven transparency. Lots of EU money came in as well, and money from migrants all over Europe – honest workers, prostitutes, thieves all did their part in raising the economy, now a BPO (and webcam sex) capital of Europe, with one of the fastest Internets, made possible by formerly illegal neighborhood networks…

            They went through populist President Traian Baiescu, former Bucharest Mayor who became popular for his haviing stray dogs killed – formerly a plague on the capital’s streets, could be pretty scary even back in 2008/9 when I did a project there. He also banned horse-drawn carts, something which directly hit the gypsies, who did a lot of informal recycling trade from their carts and mostly could not move to pickups because they lacked the literacy to do their driver’s licenses. Then corrupt Victor Ponta who was ousted by popular demonstrations, Binay is a dwarf in every respect compared to him…

            Of course migrants and workers all over Europe brought home different attitudes from having seen how developed countries worked. The present President Klaus Iohannis is an ethnic German whose family lives in Germany. He decided NOT to avail of the instant German citizenship given to Eastern European ethnic Germans, unlike his mother and sister, saying his place is in Romania. A principled Lutheran, and a schoolteacher in the forefront of the battle against corruption led by the Directie Nationala Anticoruptie, the DNA under a fearless young lady prosecutor. With the middle class supporting them, huge demonstrations late last year were mainly middle-class and returning migrant supported.

            And the standard of living has risen widely, a lot due to remittances and BPO, but also industries. The car industry (now French-owned, formerly communist) and the oil industry (now Austrian-owned, formerly communist) are major drivers among many. SAP Romania leads the BPO pack, with its most important office in Transylvanian Cluj or Klausenburg, many of its employees graduates of the excellent Babes-Bolyai Technical University which even under Ceaucescu was known for its top technical people… so many factors involved. SAP Romania is now more important than SAP Bangalore for its part in developing stuff.

            • So aside from a Bikol blog, a blog on Romanian lessons for the Philippines is coming…

              • Bill in Oz says:

                And today I was thinking about another topic….The invisible ‘spanish’ influence in Philippines…The language may have disappeared as a formal language but underneath the USA veneer, there is strong Spanish/Latin American flavor to Philippines life & culture ..But it is not an urgent blog .Any thoughts Joe ?

              • Joe America says:

                The Spanish ruled for over 500 years, and the Catholic Church is one of the institutions they left behind, so I’d say the influence remains strong, if not burdensome. I suspect it could be an interesting blog, although I don’t know what ideas would come forth in terms of things we should be aware of or do differently. The lessons, that is . . . Any blog by an outsider needs to take care not to presume some higher state of knowledge or values than Filipinos themselves possess. That is, not be judgmental without reflecting an understanding of the reasons why it is as it is.

                I was thinking about that whilst washing dishes this morning, which is my parallel activity to yoga, a great aid to focusing the mind. My main concern is that this be a Filipino blog, and not become like GRP, where intelligent people gather to pronounce their self-proclaimed superior wisdom. We should be of the Philippines, through and through, and never try to stand apart or above.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Fine Joe ! No argument there at all…I notice that there have been some comments about this as well…It is not an urgent thing

              • Joe has called the Philippines “Spanish Asia” in some older blogs… and Bikol is the region with the strongest Spanish touch… I also recommend “From Naga with Love” by Will…

                Ninoy Aquino said the Philippines is somehow a Latin American country – Latin Asian?

                Spanish was still widely used up to the 1950s… in the 1930s it was still VERY common… This shows it:… now there is a name that appears in this case that is very familiar.. young Ferdinand Marcos.

              • Professor Jaime Veneracion is the leading authority on the Mexican-Philippine connection – the Philippines was officially part of Mexico until 1821, when direct Spanish rule began… the 250 years of galleon trade shaped the culture of the colonies in both ways…


                I also recommend 1493 by Charles Mann… Filipino communities existed in Mexico City in the olden days, with their fervent Catholic processions, Filipinos even came up to Havana and mingled with the Chinese there, all where in Chinatown and called Chinos… there is an “Indian” tribe near Acapulco that still speaks an archaic version of Tagalog because they are descended from Filipino galleon seamen who stayed there… Tagalog has numerous words coming from Nahuatl, the Aztec language… palengke among others.

            • karl garcia says:

              The poverty line or piverty threshold. Can it buy a Big Mac?


              The poverty threshold or poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country.[1] In practice, like the definition of poverty, the official or common understanding of the poverty line is significantly higher in developed countries than in developing countries.[2][3] In October 2015, the World Bank updated international poverty line to US$1.90 a day.[4] In 2008, the World Bank came out with a figure (revised largely due to inflation) of $1.25 at 2005 purchasing-power parity (PPP).[5] The common international poverty line has in the past been roughly $1 a day.[6] At present the number of people living under extreme poverty is likely to fall below 10% according to the World Bank projections released in 2015.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Thank you for this back grounding Irineo..It makes me feel more optimistic about sucessful change..

            • Madlanglupa says:

              I daresay that we’re in some way kin with the Romanians, because under Ceausescu they suffered as much as we did during those dark Macoy days (there’s still that picture of those two strongmen together during Ceausescu’s state visit).

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Sorry Gian Çarlo I have to disagree with you there…Marcos & Causescu were both dictators..But the Caucescus were far more ruthless and murderous for far longer ( 1954-1989 )

                An interesting side story to the overthrow of the Caucescus is that the communist regime started to disintegrate when in December 1989 they tried to suppress/intimidate the Hungarian very religious minority in Transylvania…Then Hungarian government ( emerging from communism ) over the border, put pressure on the Rumanian government to stop persecuting ethnic Hungarians….So they eased back on the persecution ..Which then encouraged many more protesters to go out & demonstrate.. And the house of card started to collapse…

              • Well, Ceaucescu and Elena said goodbye to their loyalists on a balcony like Marcoses.
                But Elena did not sing like Imelda, and both were caught, tried and summarily shot.

                Their son had his stuff confiscated, got back one painting recently that was really his.
                He lives a quiet life and does not dare go back into politics, unlike Bongbong Marcos.

                The relative ruthlessness and follow-through of Romanians also had its advantages.
                Filipinos did not follow through enough on dealing with the Marcoses and their stealing.

            • Jake says:

              Filipinos can continue to blame the Catholic church, but without trying to better themselves, nothing will come out of it. The CBCP is annoying but people are not voting for the bishops. They are voting for politicians. I’m actually more aghast with the INC flock since they come off as cultish to me. If you are part of their church you MUST vote for whom the highest official endorse. This is not the same as the Catholics and/or Protestants and Muslims in the Philippines. They are by far allowed to vote whomever they please and ignore whoever the clergy endorses.

              That being said, there is a difference in “culture” between the lowland Catholics and highland Catholics. Maybe because it were the Belgians who Christianized the non Protestant highlanders. The Belgians even are less prone to demonizing native beliefs.

        • Jake says:

          The thing is, it seems that the culture of complaining but not really doing anything has been entrenched in many “sub-societies” in the Philippines. Even the “more fortunate” people are complaining…(a lot of times, it’s because they can’t keep up with the Joneses when it comes to materialism and extravagance – if credit card was widespread in the Philippines, they’d be the people who would have high debt).

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Gian Carlo : That is what is emerging from my research on the SSS for the blog…Your comment are appreciated !

        • karl garcia says:

          GSIS has been discussed,but BIll these pensioners are relying on the national budget because their pension system went bust. They are the Military and Police.

          Crisis over AFP, PNP pension fund
          by anna | Sep 13, 2010 | Social Security |
          MANILA, Philippines—A crisis involving the pension fund of military and police personnel is looming, with the government facing the prospect of forking out more money for the retirement benefits of soldiers and policemen than for the salaries of their comrades in active service.
          Under Malacañang’s proposed national budget for 2011, P100.597 billion is allocated for the salaries of the 250,000 to 300,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
          A total of P53 billion is set aside for the pension of retired military and police personnel, or one-fifth of the projected budget deficit next year.
          There are roughly 120,000 retirees in the AFP and 50,000 in the PNP.
          Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the ways and means committee, said the P53-billion pension allocation for the military and police personnel was glaring when compared with the P22 billion in annual benefits given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). More than 1 million government employees are members of the GSIS.
          At this rate, Recto said the government would be paying more for retired soldiers and police personnel by 2019 than those in active duty.
          “The government has to address the problem before it explodes in our faces and we end up spending more for the retirees than those in active service,” he said in an interview.
          At a Senate hearing last week, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. raised the possibility that the government would be spending more for the pension of retired soldiers and police personnel than the salaries of those still in uniform.
          “That is an area of concern not only for the uniformed personnel of the PNP and the AFP, but also for the judiciary because these institutions do not contribute to the pension fund like GSIS. (The benefits) to members are coming out of the appropriations,” Abad said.
          Retirement age
          Another factor contributing to the pension problem was the retirement age of soldiers and policemen, Recto said.
          Soldiers and policemen retire at 56 years old, lower than the norm of 60 to 65 years old, thus giving them a longer period for enjoying benefits.
          The national government has to shoulder the pension of soldiers and police personnel because they have no retirement system.
          The military was supposed to have its own self-sustaining pension fund through the AFP-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS), which was formed in 1973. The agency was shuttered four years ago when it went bankrupt due to gross mismanagement by generals on its board.
          The police have been getting their pension from the National Treasury since the PNP was spun off from the defunct Philippine Constabulary in 1991.
          Recto said the collapse of the AFP-RSBS was the main reason the government was spending heavily for the military and police pension fund.
          Pampered lot
          Recto and Abad noted that compared with other government workers, soldiers and police personnel were a pampered lot. Besides the early retirement age, they get monthly pension equal to those received by counterparts in active service.
          For example, a general who retired 15 years ago would be getting the same amount due a four-star general in active service, according to Recto. In addition, soldiers and policemen retire at the next higher rank, he said.
          Moreover, their pension increases by P5,000 when they reach 65 and 70 years of age aside from the total disability benefits amounting to P1,700.
          “We have to look at all these factors and assess the viability of the military and police pension fund system because the government cannot sustain this for long. We must have a self-sustaining pension fund in place,” Recto said.
          Abad said the Department of Budget and Management would conduct a study of the military and police pension fund system and recommend how to make it more sustainable without being a huge burden on the government. –Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Thanks Karl..I am not attempting to deal with government employees either civil or military. ( GISS etc )..But Gian Carlo’s comment chimes in with what I am discovering about the SSS..

            When I have worked through all the SSS material I will start reading up on this other aspect..Simply I don’t have the time right now..Trying to stay focused. 🙂

            • karl garcia says:

              Let this not disturb the distillation process.😜

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Also it was Gian Carlo’s comment at 2:36 pm today (January 17, 2016) which I was thinking about…

                But it seems that retirement & insurance programs are ‘money pots’ that attract the corrupt and the unscrupulous

          • About your post, karl re Gil C. Cabacungan’s article on military and police pension fund system….I wonder why they are not covered by GSIS, why is the Philippine government shouldering it? I can’t help but think of Greece and their loan default partly caused by the huge pension she is paying her retirees. I will copy paste this post at Joe’s latest article. The Senate – you aint nothing but a hound dog.

            Calling on the Senate and HoR

            Please enact the law that would implement the compulsory membership of the AFP, PNP and Judiciary at the GSIS. At least they got to pay the 9% share of the premium, although the government has to pitch in with the 12% of their salaries as its share in the premium. With expert management of GSIS funds, their retirement pensions will no longer eat a large part of our annual budget.

            I’d like to know, what other government department employees are not covered by GSIS, and while we’re at it, are they being subject to proper withholding tax just like their private counterparts? I have heard of rumors (not confirmed) that they are not. We in the private sectors are religiously being compulsory taxed at a maximum 32% (depending on our gross salaries) and if confirmed that they are not being taxed properly, this is quite unfair. As it is, we are indirectly supporting the premiums of the government sector as I have pointed out in my other posts, since it is the government that is shouldering the 12% GSIS premium. Where does the government get their funds? – from us taxpayers, mostly the middle income salaried employees.

            • Jake says:

              My question is why does SSS and GSIS have to be separate? Why not just have one entity (government) that will do this a la Social Security Services and Medicare like in the US…All tax payers have to pay, but at the same time, upon reaching the age of 65, people will get their SSI and Medicare. At the same time, a 401k option would also be nice. It can prompt Filipinos to save money rather than expecting their future children to pay for them when they get old.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Umm Jake You suggest going down the USA path..Well the USA Social Security system is already bankrupt..It survives only with government budgetary allocations every year…

                You suggest merging SSS & GISS in the Philippines and ask ‘why have a separate government employees retirement fund’..Well in normal democracies this is one of the ways of ensuring that the public service is ‘non partisan’…But perhaps you don’t think that important..

                As for military retirement pensions in the Philippines there was a special contributory retirement fund..But it went bankrupt due to mismanagement..I do not know the details but probably somewhere here on Joe Am does.

                But the Philippines armed forces & police personnel ( like those in most other countries ) are in a significantly higher risk profession than others..They are expected to defend the country and the law and to take orders from political leadership who may on occasion be incompetent…That’s not like being a public servant..Nor it is the same as normal private employment..A separate military retirement pension fund reflects these risks. And helps prevent the armed forces becoming partisan as well…But it definitely be a ‘contributory’ scheme…

              • Jake says:

                “It survives only with government budgetary allocations every year…”

                That is funny. SSI is a government program in which the “budgetary allocations” come from the tax of workers. Same with Medicare. Every paycheck, people legally working in the US have SSI and Medicare deductions. As a US taxpayer, the “handout” system is more of a concern for me because I have met and seen people who DELIBERATELY avoid working in order to quality for food stamps and other government welfare. Not the same for SSI and Medicare. Many who are receiving it right now had paid their part of the contribution. Some people beyond 65 are still working, therefore, still contributing to the SSI and Medicare.

                Besides Medicare (Medicare, not the new “Obamacare”) system is better than just giving freebie Philhealth. At least people who receive it paid their part. Philhealth is “free” for senior citizens and “poor” people…who did not and do not contribute at all.

                Yes, the police and military are higher risk professions and I am not against additional benefits for them. But many are civil servants(a number of whom are inefficient and making chika chika..and perhaps stealing post office mails if it’s from abroad) who are not working in risky professions. Working as an electrician for a private company or in construction is more risky than a government clerk sitting their butts in the city hall. I’m not sure about the police but US Military personnel get more benefits than “regular” workers for private firms and civil servants not working in these fields. US Military have the GI bill — not accessible to non-military families. Then there’s Tricare for life which can be used abroad.

        • caliphman says:

          Bill, the problem with the SSS assessing a contribution by applying a percentage of workers earnings only up to a fixed cap of ceiling amount is overtime the tax is regressive. By this I mean the low earning workers have a bigger percentage of total compensation subject to tax compared to high earning workers because the latter has more income in excess of the cap escaping the SSS tax.

          • caliphman says:

            To make matters worse the income gap between low earning and high earning employees is becoming worse in the Philippines, the US and many capitalist economies so this situation is exacerbated over time.

          • edgar lores says:

            Therefore, (a) the percentage should be uniform and (b) there should be no cap?

            I would agree to both being equitable.

            • caliphman says:

              I believe the percentage is fixed as well just as it is here in the US.

            • caliphman says:

              Chempo, the BOC mess is one of the biggest failings of Daang Matuwid and Aquino’s administration. These generals and colonels were put into place by resigned commissioner Sevilla to o investigate and clean up entrenched corruption at customs. The leaders of the tara network in conjunction with top level cabinet officials who report directly to Aquino eased out Sevilla and now their work is complete. The saving hope is the installation and completion of a fully computerized and automated information and transaction processing system that is in the pipeline. The wishful plan is that shipments will pass through without human intervention and so quick it will minimize opportunities for protection rackets. The model is Singapore’s system so maybe you can comment on that.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Hi Caliphman.. Thank you for the reply..But I am still perplexed.
            My understanding is that the cap exists so that the SSS contributions do not become a burden for working people and for employers..If the cap was removed then SSS members would pay more and employers also pay much more.

            But you are saying that this over time favors richer Philippinos because of the income tax system..It is true that the rich always have more opportunity to claim tax deductions and have a higher tax return ( tax credit ?) at the end of the financial year..That happens here in Oz and in the USA and the rest of the world…

            However to tailer reform of the SSS because of this would be a distraction from the other more important structural issues with SSS..Acheiving reform in the Philippines is difficult..So my gut feeling to to go for the major items

            Bill in Oz.

            • edgar lores says:

              My understanding is that the cap is not on the percentage but on the maximum amount of salary against which the percentage can be applied. That max amount is Php15,000?

              If so, I fail to understand the need for the cap. One effect the cap would have would be to increase the disposable income for high earners. This would be advantageous to them. Another effect is that it would lessen the amount contributed to the SSS fund pool. This would be disadvantageous to the pool.

              All things being equal, the first effect has no direct impact on low earners. The second effect does in that a greater fund pool would be able to fund pension increases. This would benefit all members.

            • caliphman says:

              Removing the cap accomplishes two things. It increases the significantly the amount the SSS can increase its measly payout to retirees. It removes the regressive nature of who bears the burden of employee contributions. Its the higher earning workers and their unassessed income which will be the source of the additjonal incomes and not the poorer workers.

            • caliphman says:

              By the way, I would not lose any sleep over the matching contributions corporations and businesses have to pay due to the cap removal. One, they can deduct these amounts from income subject to income tax. Secondly, businesses can recover the amounts by raisiing prices. But its your article and your call.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Giancarlo This is an excellent article…It discusses the key structural issues of inflation…As I wish to keep my powder dry for next Tuesday the 26th..I will not say more….

          • edgar lores says:


            Thanks. Best overview I have read. And best conclusion: “But without appropriate financing, the law will be defective and cannot be implemented.” And written in September.

      • Ok, so you say the NOW pervades everything and everyone..

        Hmmm…my observation is different when I ask those in the provinces and even here in the cities. They keep complaining that their salaries are not enough, or just barely enough for a hand to mouth existence but in reality, they have something to buy for non basic items like cigarettes and beer or gin even soft drinks and unhealthy junk foods for their kids. Why can’t they think further than a night out with the guys or giving in to their kids’ pangugulit for junk foods and sugary drinks and think of a time beyond now, to a time when they are old and sickly and without work?

        Like agreeing to pay more for SSS premium? That’s one form of insurance, only they are fortunate to have an employer counterpart share which the OFWs and voluntary members don’t have.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Mary Grace I suggest that this comment is unfair.

          Yes the minimum monthly rate for poor pensioners of 1200 pesos a month is a pittance.

          And yes there are individuals who work & waste their wages on sugar pop drinks alcohol and cigarettes and maybe even illicit drugs.

          But I suspect that the overwhelming majority do not waste a huge percentage of their wages on these types of expenditures.

          Why do I say this ? Well for a start I saw far less obesity in the Philippines than her in Oz. I also saw far fewer smokers. And I saw far fewer drunk people & people buying alcohol then in Oz, even though it is far far cheaper.

          I stayed in a poor part of Manila in Qiappo.. And I saw a fair bit of the poor barrios up towards San lazaro. I hardly saw a smoker. I did not see people pulling into hotels and buying slabs of beer as happens here. In fact I only spent time with one person who drank beer.He drank 2 stubbies of San Miguel over 2 days.

          But I did see working poor family folk, even people working and contributing to SS. For them increasing the contribution rate would be a kick in the guts. You see many of them are already helping their aged parents and relatives who often get nothing way of a monthly pension not even 1200 pesos. And they are doing so at great personal cost to themselves and children.

          • Ok, difference of places and people observed, I think.

            I have lived in our subdivision for almost 4 decades now and what I observed is a customary thing, drinking, nightly singing in rented videoke which are available for a few hundreds. Even adults are into munching junk foods while watching TV at home. They are salaried employees in the private sector.

            And I see this custom in our own province, too which I visit regularly, I see them with my cousins there and their children who are so into unhealthy but expensive junk foods.

            “…many of them are already helping their aged parents and relatives who often get nothing way of a monthly pension not even 1200 pesos”

            Well, that is the sad reality of today, but then we will only repeat that cycle when those who are supporting their aged parents now will be the one who will retire in the future, you see, the premiums you pay corresponds to the salary bracket as set by the SSS, you need to be in that bracket for at least a decade so the computed pension will reflect the amount within it. The few hundreds that they will refuse to invest now by way of increased SSS premium will spell the difference when it’s their turn to retire.

            I’ve even heard of instances when employees connived with employers to reduce the reported salary to save on premiums and taxes, which is a very wrong decision on the part of the employees.

            The senior citizens who belong to the poorest of the poor are now entitled to a monthly allowance (on top of the annual gift every Christmas, given to all of them no matter their status in life). I know this, as my poor aunts and uncles are listed already in the seniors payroll whether they are pensioners themselves or not as it is acknowledged that the few who are retirees receive pensions that are quite small. The elders are taken care of by the government and their relatives, the children and the mothers are under the 4Ps program, the K-12 for those in the senior high schools. The indigent senior citizens’ monthly allowance, the 4Ps, and the K-12 subsidies are already in the signed 2016 budget. The SSS subsidy if ever it will be decided is not yet in there as the law was passed only late this year.

            To say that the present admin is heartless and uncaring is definitely wrong.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Mary Grace this statement by you is interesting to me as I am completely unaware of this welfare program “The senior citizens who belong to the poorest of the poor are now entitled to a monthly allowance (on top of the annual gift every Christmas, given to all of them no matter their status in life). I know this, as my poor aunts and uncles are listed already in the seniors payroll whether they are pensioners themselves or not as it is acknowledged that the few who are retirees receive pensions that are quite small. The elders are taken care of by the government and their relatives, the children and the mothers are under the 4Ps program, the K-12 for those in the senior high schools. The indigent senior citizens’ monthly allowance, the 4Ps, and the K-12 subsidies are already in the signed 2016 budget”

              What is the extent of this welfare program by the government ?

              • The mentioned welfare program are funded already (meaning it’s already in the 2016 budget)

                The indigent senior citizens pension started with 500 hundred pesos a month. An uncle of mine received 3,000 last month including arrears for 6 months pension not released on time.

                Prior to that, the DSWD staffs had been going around interviewing the poorest of the poor, taking pics of the houses and residents, asking questions and listing the truly indigent so they can be included in the indigent senior payroll.

                The 4Ps (CCT or conditional cash transfer program) is very successful in our barrio. The mothers and kids have IDs and one ATM card. The monthly cash is transferred to the respective ATM accounts on condition that kids of school ages will not miss school and regular checkups in government health centers – the idea is to promote education and health of both mother and kids. The sick one only has to present his/her 4Ps card and they will be assisted in the health centers. The elders are given free check up and maintenance meds for diabetes and hypertension. Others receive antipyretic (for fever) tabs, antibiotics, pain medications for free. For possible serious ailments, they are endorsed to government hospitals of the respective Local Government Units.

                In Pasig, the city government are distributing to public school children up to high school – complete sets of uniforms, formal and for PE, for footwear, one pair of leather shoes, another pair of rubber shoes, bags, raincoat and umbrella plus school allowances. Benefits depend on the LGUs, Pasig and Makati are financially capable compared to far flung LGUs.

                The K-12 program is truly wonderful. One daughter of a cousin who is currently in her 4th year high school was able to enroll last year for the year 2016 in a private and better school (a government partner) for Grade 10 and 11 free of tuition, as subsidized by the government. After the 2 years, she can elect to work already or continue with the higher education. We thought I had to shoulder the 6,000 balance in STI (another government partner, she was late in submitting her documents and lost her slot, a blessing in disguise as another partner school has a lower tuition range, covered fully by the government subsidy.

                A blessing indeed, as I was able to use the money I allocated for her to another indigent, an aunt who needed a blood transfusion as she was not able to have the required iron injection for months. She thought she was saving money by having just one injection a month, after a needy relative failed to pay back the loan my aunt granted her…awwss, I spent 36,000 for her hospital confinement. A costly lesson learned.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Wonderful !!! Thanks Mary Grace..that really does put me in the picture….on the welfare program side of things.

              • edgar lores says:

                Bill, here’s an article on the indigent senior citizens program:


              • “The head of SSS was interviewed today on radio/TV and said the fund was not corrupted and HAD grown.” – Joe

                The way I understood him in that press conference, he said he and the commissioners were able to turn around the SSS finances in the last 5 years, meaning it has been corrupted before by the previous administrators appointed by Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo. That was the time when the previous SSS executives were given immoral stock options as part of their compensation thereby pocketing the dividends form those stocks instead of those dividend and per diems getting back to the SSS reserved fund since it’s there that the investment in stocks were sourced from. Those hundreds of millions received by Neri and his predecessors properly belonged to the SSS to prolong its capability to pay the retirees’ pensions.

            • bill in Oz says:

              Btw thank you Mary Grace for this detailed
              comment.. i appreciate it as it helps me understand so much more..
              Another issue i am trying grapple with is inflation since the 1960’s..
              There has been a lot of inflation according to SS lost a lot of their value unless they are indexed for inflation. Do you know whether this happens ?

              • karl garcia says:

                For an idea of our inflation data.


              • Bill in Oz says:

                @ Karl, Again thanks for the inflation data link..I have ben looking through it and it confirms Irinoe information and my own experience..But there remains an issue about which I know nothing

                Does s S S index the contributions of older members who started paying decades ago ?

                Here are my remarks about the inflation and indexation issue..I ‘d appreciate any comment you can make..

                Bill in Oz

                “There is another issue so far not discussed – inflation. I remember staying in a 2 star hotel for a night in Baguio in 1974. The cost was 20 pesos. I stayed in a similar type of hotel in December for 4 nights. The cost per night was 1350 pesos. So there has been significant inflation over the past 40 years. In fact the average inflation Rate in Philippines from 1958 until 2015 was 8.70%. It reached an all time high of 62.80 percent in September of 1984 under Ferdinand Marcos’ presidency.
                Many of the 2,000,000 SS retired pensioners started their working lives about 40 years ago. Wages & salaries and the cost of living were so much, much much lower then. And these people paid contributions to the SS in those times set according to the then current wage & salary levels. I wonder if the SS has indexed the contributions made by members to account for the high inflation rate. If the SS has not done so, this means that older members have been treated fairly compared to members who joined in more recent times.
                A second issue here is that inflation is a aspect of the economy which is controlled ( or not ) by government and the Philipines National Bank. There is a strong equity argument that older SS members should be compensated by the Philippine government for the impact that inflation has had on the value of the SS Insurance scheme policy.”

              • karl garcia says:

                Click to access pidspjd09-2socialinsurance.pdf

                This is the study of a think tank in the philippines of social insurance in the philippines.

                For the Social Security law.

                Click to access DownloadContent

              • Joe America says:

                The head of SSS was interviewed today on radio/TV and said the fund was not corrupted and HAD grown. So we are getting a lot of different and conflicting views thrown about. You might want to search for articles about his interview in press reports tomorrow. Or maybe there will be reports on the SSS web site on what he said:

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Joe I will check this out later tonight (after tango class 🙂 )

                Thanks also to you karl for the link to the Philippines inflation data

                The distillation is continuing…

              • The trolls from Binay, Duterte and the rest of the oppositions are not in a listening mode. I keep explaining the reasons why the the pension hike was vetoed, but they answered with memes bringing back the missing Yolanda funds and other concocted corruptions of Mar.

                These trolls are extreme as in EXTREME, they call their group TUWAD NA DAAN a play on Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path)

                The SSS P/CEO Quiros emphasized that pension size depend not on the amount of premium paid but in number of contributions paid and the MSC, (monthly salary credit). Based on GSIS whose employee share is 9% of salary (no cap) plus the 12% share of the government or a total of 21% of the ACTUAL SALARY, with a resultant P5,000 minimum pension, the SSS premium (50% less) and pension (minimum P1,300?) is not comparable with the public counterpart.

                He said that his attempt to adjust the premium and the MSC are met with opposition from the left leaning labor groups (Colmenares gang) and the Employers Federation of the Philippines.

                So who really is to for this impasse? The President and the SSS on one hand or the Senate and the labor groups together with the business sector on the other?

                Who is heartless and uncaring?

              • err, it should be “so who really is to blame for this impasse” and not “so who really is to for this impasse”

              • karl garcia says:

                @ Bill,
                re:your jan 18, 9:33 pm

                May I ask the assistance of any who could answer?
                From Mary’ example I guess her aunt is one of those who paid decades ago.According to her,she is receiving 1300 .
                I will get back to you. I will study this further.

              • karl garcia says:

                “A second issue here is that inflation is a aspect of the economy which is controlled ( or not ) by government and the Philipines National Bank”

                The monetary policy of our Central Bank or BSP is as follows.

                The primary objective of BSP’s monetary policy is to promote a low and stable inflation conducive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth. The adoption of inflation targeting framework for monetary policy in January 2002 is aimed at achieving this objective.

                As for its being faiir for the senior citizens?
                That has been the contention.The senior citizens are complaining,they are asking increase in pension.
                The cost of living and poverty thresh hold is the explanation of the proponents of the increase.

                The pensions does not jibe with the cost of living and is below the poverty thresh hold.
                I do not think there is any indexation that is why any increase in pension has to be legislated.
                I could be wrong, and I would be more than happy if there would be any one who could help me on this.

              • caliphman says:

                Karl, it is not true that SSS pensions are below the official Philippine poverty line. The 2013 poverty threshold was around 10k pesos per YEAR as compared to the minimum SSS pension rate of 1.2k per month. The problem is as i posted in my Jan. 18 response below to you is that poverty line is absurd and below the World Bank base line of $1.25 per day, under which they estimate 18% of Filipinos are poor. Under the official threshold, no SSS retiree would be classified as poor which is patently ridiculously on its face although the average pension which is still scandalously low would be barely above the World Bank threshhold. And no, one could not buy a Big Mac daily on that income based on current McDo prices here although I am more a fan of In&Out burgers.


              • Bill in Oz says:

                Hi Caliphman…Thank you, I agree with you..The official poverty level of 10,000 pesos a year is not anywhere near accurate ! It is completely unrealistic. So what the SS says about 1200 pesos a month ( = 14400 a year ) being ” above the poverty line” is irrelevant.

                Yes the World Bank estimate of $1.25 US a day as the poverty line implies that the poverty threshold in the Philippines is about 21,000 pesos a year.
                Karl said earlier that he thinks the S S has not indexed the pensions of now retired members to take account of the major inflationary periods in the 1980’s & 1990’s. Now that is a major source of SS pensioner poverty right there. But is there any more data out there on this issue of indexation ?

              • edgar lores says:

                Bill, If the monthly SSS pension has been steady at Php1,200 since the late 1990’s, then one can safely assume it has not been indexed.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Edgar. Indeed ! But I do not wish to make a blunt statement of fact, when I do not know the fact for certain…

                Indexation has been the norm here in Australia with welfare payments and with many insurance policies since the 1970’s – because of the impact of inflation…..But I do not know what the norm has been in the Philippines

              • edgar lores says:

                There is evidence to support that indexation is considered unconstitutional in the Philippines.

                “I would like to ask about the constitutionality of indexation because here, you are taking away the power of Congress to actually legislate revenues through taxation for the government,” said Rep. Eric Singson, Jr.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ahhhh… Is this a supreme court ruling or a pollie making ‘noise’ ?

                I think that in Oz the parliament long ago passed legislation authorising indexation of pensions etc.Thus the old age pension is indexed so that it is 23% of average weekly earning.

                In a period when inflation is occurring, usually tax revenues are also increasing so the budget bottom line is largely unaffected..

              • edgar lores says:

                It’s a supreme joke. Congressmen will not forfeit their power to legislate crumbs — or incredible sums.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks @ Caliphman.
                I must have been listening to Villar and Colmenares way too much.
                They have been defending their pet bill of 2000 pension increase.

              • ok, let me correct myself here. I just talked with my aunt thru the CP I provided her, her original pension was P1,200, it was adjusted to P1,400, then to the current P1,500+-. As I mentioned earlier, she was not expecting a pension so she was late processing her papers, but the SSS granted her a lump sum for the years since she turned 60, a back pay, was the term used in the old days. The SSS computed the lump sum plus the yearly arrears, plus adjustments, plus the annual 13th month pay.

              • caliphman says:

                Bill, as Edgar has surmised, the SSS contributions and payouts are not indexed for in inflation. In addition, the required contributions are capped when employee income reaches a fixed level and anything above is not subject to SSS tax. As a consequence, not only do total contributions fail to keep pace with the cost of living, the burden on low piaid employees gets progressively heavier as highly paid workers not only reap higher percentage compensation increases, most or all of which are untaxed due to these caps.

                You might also want to note that in contrast, the GSIS has done away with contribution caps and adopted automatic inflation adjustments to both payouts and contributions six years ago. These are improvements that have worked for GSIS and the question is why is the SSS not adopting tem.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thanks Caliphman for your comment..However I do not understand your reasoning in the following bit :
                ” As a consequence, not only do total contributions fail to keep pace with the cost of living, the burden on low piaid employees gets progressively heavier as highly paid workers not only reap higher percentage compensation increases, most or all of which are untaxed due to these caps.”

                If this is true it is important..But I do not follow your reasoning… Maybe I am just tired at this moment or I am missing some bit of the puzzle..Could you expalin this again ?

                Thank you

                Bill in Oz

              • Jake says:

                It is of my view that the Philippines should have mandatory or optional “401k” like system put in place. I think it would make Filipino workers think more about long term savings rather than just splurging whatever they have right now because they will get pension or they are expecting their kids to “raise them” when they get old.

                The Philippines should have a system that encourages its citizens to save for the long term. Filipinos, sadly, tend to have the “asa sa kamag-anak” mentality..which is very detrimental to the GDP and economic progress.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Jake what is the point of long term ? Philippinos know that government caused inflation massive inflation can wipe out the value in a couple of years…Like in so many other poorer countries the truly rich ‘savers’ have already moved their money ‘offshore’ to countries with a more stable government and low long term inflation rates..

            • edgar lores says:


              With this statement, “The senior citizens who belong to the poorest of the poor are now entitled to a monthly allowance (on top of the annual gift every Christmas, given to all of them no matter their status in life),” Bill might get the impression that we have a welfare system for the aged poor.

              Could you please clarify that you are speaking of the SSS poor, thanks.

              I am not aware that senior citizens — who are neither SSS/GSIS members nor ex-soldiers/ex-policemen — receive a monthly governmental allowance.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Edgar ! Thank you for chiming there with this query/clarification. After reading Mary Grace’s comment that is exactly what I was beginning to think..And so asked for some further elaboration…But there is also the DCT program which is directed at the very poor unemployed and elderly..How does it fit in ?

              • 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) or CCT is what you mean, yes it does take care of the very old and very poor, in addition they have automatic Philhealth coverage.

                The thing is, CCT or 4Ps is an executive program, not yet institutionalized meaning the next President can just decide to stop it. Let me articulate the somewhat unarticulated fears some people have about Roxas. There are some people who approve of what President Aquino has done but don’t trust Roxas. His grandfather, Manuel Roxas I, first President of the postwar Philippines, made laws that favored sugar plantation owners – he was one himself – and signed a trade treaty with the USA unfavorable to the Philippines, which Magsaysay later changed to a better one. Also Manuel Roxas I was a Japanese collaborator before that. Many people have that at the back of their heads but don’t really speak it out – not speaking up is a Filipino weakness, jumping to conclusions is another.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Thank you we getting to the bottom of at least part of the anti Roxas factor at work..History is important Perhaps he will address that ‘distrust’ directly..But I should not say this as I should not make any comment which addresses the upcoming election

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks, Irineo. I have the impression that the 4Ps is for families with children?

              • The strange logic of many voters has to do with the unspoken social divide in the country.

                “Binay may be a crook but he is one of us so he will deliver for us”… same logic for Marcos with some… or Grace Poe… or Duterte… and “Roxas is one of THEM”…

                For some, with time, the feeling became that Aquino is one of US after all, what a surprise, but how do we know Roxas is? Bridging that innate distrust is the hardest thing of all to do. The class divide of the Philippines is very deep. About as deep as in 19th-century UK.

              • This is on top of the really small SSS pension that they receive from the SSS.

                This stipend is from the government, in cooperation with the DSWD.

                Click to access RA%209994%20-%20The%20Expanded%20Senior%20Citizens%20Act.pdf

                Section 5 (h) “1) Social Pension

                Indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to Five hundred pesos (Pho500.00) to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens, subject to a review every two (2) years by Congress, in consultation with the DSWD. xxxx ”

              • My aunt tells me that upon learning of the amount she is getting as SSS pensioner, the DSWD included her in the list. Good for her, although, strictly speaking, I NOW learned that those who receive SSS or GSIS pension are excluded from the Social Pension for indigent senior citizen. Hmmm…

              • edgar lores says:


                The text of RA 9994 that you supplied seems to indicate that the indigent pension could be on top of GSIS/SSS benefits:

                “The senior citizens shall be entitled to the following: x x x

                “(h) to the extent practicable and feasible, the continuance of the same benefits and privileges given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS) and the PAG-IBIG, as the case may be, as are enjoyed by those in actual service;”

                However the law contradicts itself with the following:

                “SEC. 2. Definition of terms. – For purposes of this Act, these terms are defined as
                follows: x x x

                “(h) Indigent senior citizen, refers to any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and
                without pension
                or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board.”

              • Huh? whoa… I thought the DSWD in Batangas just pitied my aunt because of the too small amount of the SSS monthly pension.

                That was a sloppy preparation of the law, Imagine! It took our resident guru to find out the contradiction.

              • “It reached an all time high of 62.80 percent in September of 1984 under Ferdinand Marcos’ presidency.
                Many of the 2,000,000 SS retired pensioners started their working lives about 40 years ago” – Bill in Oz

                My aunt in Batangas is the perfect example of someone working during the Marcos presidency in the Crispa T-shirt factory, in the spinning department. But during that time, she paid less than one (P1) peso premium per month. She was not expecting to receive a P1,200 pension, she thinks “Thank God there is SSS”. Although we support her living expenses and her medical needs as well as that of my 95 year old grandmother’s, it is a great moral booster for her to know that with that pension however meager it maybe, she is not totally helpless – she raises chicken and plants various fruits, veggies in her backyard while taking care our old grandma.

              • Another example of a former Crispa Inc. worker is the uncle of my brother in law who was recipient of monthly disability pension as he was almost blind after he left the company, he has been receiving his monthly retirement pension from the SSS, adjusted so many times from the original P1,200 in 1985 to his current P6,000+-. Imagine, he was a pensioner for more than 30 years! And his monthly premium then was less than one peso for month!

                He is one of those saying “Thank God there is SSS”.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:
                January 19, 2016 at 8:08 am

                Another example of a former Crispa Inc. worker is the uncle of my brother in law who was recipient of monthly disability pension as he was almost blind after he left the company, he has been receiving his monthly retirement pension from the SSS, adjusted so many times from the original P1,200 in 1985 to his current P6,000+-. Imagine, he was a pensioner for more than 30 years! And his monthly premium then was less than one peso for month!

                He is one of those saying “Thank God there is SSS”.

                My impression Mary Grace is that pensions like this are not adjusted ….”Indexed” Can anyone clarify this more ?

                Bill in Oz

              • karl garcia says:

                Click to access pidsdps0922.pdf

                on page 21 of this paper, it is recommended to apply indexation as a protective mechanism.

                So, there is no indexation in SSS.

              • “My impression Mary Grace is that pensions like this are not adjusted ….”Indexed” Can anyone clarify this more ?” – Bill in Oz

                I don’t know if that is “indexed”

                From the press conference yesterday, I had the impression that the increases in the retirees’ pension is not usually legislated. Out of the its own initiative, the SSS has been adjusting the pension based on their actuarial computations and its financial capability. One notable example is that of my brother in law’s elderly uncle. He started with 1,200, through the years – spanning 30 years – it has been regularly adjusted by the SSS up to the current 6,000+- level and that was not legislated by congress. It’s the SSS, I think who computes the regular adjustments of premiums and Monthly Salary Credits, with the approval of the incumbent presidents. The SSS would like to pattern these premiums with that of the GSIS but the left leaning labor groups (Colmenares gangs) are constantly objecting, together with the business groups.

                My opinion there is that the private middle class employees are mostly subsidizing the government share in the GSIS premium (12% of the ACTUAL SALARIES, NOT MSC) as they are being taxed heavily (up to 32%) by automatic withholding from their salaries.

                Maybe it’s the reason why party-list Congressman Colmenares authored that pension hike bill, to force the government to subsidize the funding of the legislation, but the HoR (House of Representatives) passed the sister law that will fund the pension hike law, it is the Senate who failed to pass it. My musings need clarification….

                I hope the Senate will not dilly dally in this matters, the left leaning groups are leading the frustrated, angry senior citizen retirees in splattering eggs in Pnoy’s picture at the rallies, when it is their fault that the passed law had to be vetoed by the President.

                Why is the Senate so anti-Pnoy? They are mostly under the thumb of Enrile who is hell bent on laying the blame of the SAFF 44 tragedy on Pnoy who has already admitted that he will carry the burden of their deaths for the remainder of his life up to his grave. What more does this old man want? Revenge?

                Election year, maybe that’s why. But I digressed, sorry about that, Bill in Oz.

              • karl garcia says:

                SSS pension benefits were increased 21 times from 1980 to 2007. On the other hand, the contribution rate was raised only twice. The contribution rate was pegged at 8.4% for 23 years and was adjusted to 9.4% in 2003 and to 10.4% in 2007.


                so there is no indexation and it is unlikely that all those 21 increases were legislated.
                so what triggers legislated increases? impatience,lobbying or what?

              • edgar lores says:

                Karl, thanks.

                For me, there are two conditions that would indicate indexation:

                1. Recalculation is done annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
                2. Recalculation is done across the board.

                And perhaps a third:

                3. Recalculation is automatic.

                In Oz, the three conditions are met. Legislation does come into play but more at the fringes, more in the refinement of variables such as min/max thresholds and so-called taper rates.

                So: recalculation is not necessarily indexation, but indexation requires recalculation.

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks for that Edgar.

              • Madlanglupa says:

                @MG: speaking of Enrile, here the grandstanding old Marcosian serpent goes again, to blame the Prez for sending the SAF into the meat grinder.

              • chempo says:

                @ Edgar

                Recalculation of pension payouts indexed to the CPI —

                Pension funds need to be dynamic and the scheme has to be cognisant of cost of living, that’s rational. But these adjustments applies only to paying members. The way I see it is that retired members lot are fixed. Any increase to retired members’ payouts will deplete the funds, that’s pure mathematics. That is the reason why one fears retiring and living on pension alone because inflation will kill us.

                A thought just occured to me. I think if I were Pnoy I would not reject the 2,000 peso increase in SSS payment outright. I would through the bill back to Congress and up the ante — increase it by 20,000. This way, Congress and Senate will face the political fallout because they will be the ones to reject Pnoy’s proposal.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Sorry Chempo I have to disagree with your suggestion that people who have already retired must have their SS ‘pensions’ fixed..

                The money they& their employers paid into the fund is used to buy asset that yield dividends and often increased capital. This happens both when they are not retired and after they have retired.

                Usually when inflation happens the value of the assets ( company shares, buildings, etc ) also increases.

                So indexation is simply preserving the real value of the retiring date pension

                Bill in Oz

              • edgar lores says:

                Chempo, thanks.

                It is complicated, isn’t it?

                When I say indexed, I do not necessarily mean that pension increases should equal or pass the CPI rate. I mean the increase should mirror the cost of living (as embodied in the CPI rate)… and probably the interest rate. Theoretically, the pension increase should equal or be below the interest rate (?). The assumption is that the growth of the pooled fund will at least parallel the interest rate.

                Contributions should also mirror the CPI rate.

                Paying members do not receive any pension until they retire. So when you say only the pension of paying members should be adjusted, what exactly does that mean?

                All retired pensioners were paying members once.

                Since individual pension payments do not consider the magnitude of the contributions the individual actually made — to the extent that pension payments will cease when the magnitude plus investment earnings are reached (or exceeded) — and since the payments are for life (and even beyond if the payments are extended to the surviving spouse), the actuarial calculations can be very complex.

                The likelihood is that the pension payments will exceed the contributions plus investment earnings (which is why most pension systems are in deficit). (The Oz personal pension system — called superannuation — will never go negative because payouts are based on contributions plus earnings.)

                The shortfall must be made up by a younger and wider pool of new members… and by government funding. And by extending the retirement age.

                Am I making sense?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                We have all walked out onto thin insurance ice folks…This is realm of the actuary ( or a very skilled accountant ) So is there an actuary in the house ? Please one who talks like the ordinary folks and not ‘actuarese’.

              • err, another correction, MSC – refers to Maximum Salary Credit, not Monthly Salary Credit…sowie..

              • karl garcia says:

                I only know of an accountant and that is Mary.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ummmm…What we call a forensic auditor would be helpful..I know Mary Grace is flat out with her own work

              • Joe America says:

                We have techies, a doctor, a couple of bankers and business consultants, a gardener, an accountant, a restaurant chef, a Marine corporal (currently in evasive mode), but I’ve not heard of an actuary . . . nor can I think of a good reason why anyone would want to be one.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                PS Karl

                I was trying to be humourous..

              • Bill, I would try to reduce the equation to a small number of variables:

                – money coming in: how many contribute, how much contributions
                – money going out: how many beneficiaries, how much benefits
                – money spent inside: administrative costs, bonuses
                – money invested: company shares, other investment forms (gambles?)
                – money earned: from company shares/dividends, bank interest etc.

                Once you get into the complex actuarial stuff, it is too much I think. But what could matter:

                – forecast on how money coming in may develop: demographics, employment market
                – forecast on how money going out may develop: expected retirees, life expectancy etc.
                – possible major wastes of money: unjustified bonuses, bad investments, big apparatus.

                Possibly some of these questions can’t be answered yet, and must remain questions.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                A good analysis Irineo…The crystal ball gazing issues you raise at the end are exactly what an insurance actuary is trained to work out..I met one once at a friends dinner party. we had a very interesting 30 minute coversation over wine where I learned a lot..It stopped when we both realised that the rest of the company were completely bored to tears.. Ahhh well ..sigh !

              • karl garcia says:

                Yes, I laughed before typing my response.
                I actually told Mary that we made a career out of this topic(in another thread. i was joking too.

          • Madlanglupa says:

            Speaking of cigarettes, most smokers buy them by the stick, not the pack (and yeah, it amazes me that some people are willing to part Php5 for a stick of Marlboro Black). In fact most small stores sell almost everything in small packets — shampoo, soap, soy sauce, ketchup, orange juice, etc.

            When getting drunk, an individual in this time and place would buy a 500ml bottle of Red Horse, just strong enough to lull him to sleep. Or everyone would buy a 1 liter bottle of the same beer (or any stronger, such as Emperador Brandy — whose owner now coincidentally also bought out Fundador Brandy) and to share, pass the 1/3 filled glass around.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Maybe here is one way of increasing government revenues with increased a packet of 20 fags( Marlboro ) costs $15.00 Australian.Roughly 480 pesos..or 20 pesos each..

              Similarly alcohol is taxed ( the tax is called an ‘excise’) depending on the percentage of alcohol in each bottle…Stubby sized bottles of beer are roughly $3.50 each = 112 pesos. A standard sized bottle of spirits ( rum etc ) sells for anywhere between $30,00 & $55.00 = 1120 to 1600 pesos a bottle..About 75% of alcohol prices here are taxes..

              There would be a ‘downside’ : many of the expats who come to live in the Philippines because of cheap booze would perhaps leave….Ummmm ?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Ahh Irineo..Exise is not a ‘sin tax’. Sin has moral connotation. An Exise tax is a charge on dangerous products..The revenue helps pay for the health consequences of these dangerous products being consumed by people and also deters their consumption.

              • Joe America says:

                Here the tax on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages (retail tax) is popularly known as a “sin tax”. It is a significant tax and one of the main reasons revenue increased during the Aquino Administration with no tax increases. That and better discipline on collections.

        • Jake says:

          So basically, Bill, you are suggesting that Filipinos should NOT save for retirement funds and burden their future children or the government/tax payers in supporting them once they are unable to work? Or just leave them to starve and get sick? That is an attitude of “entitlement” – akin to those welfare king and queens who expect the middle class taxpayers to provide for them while they fatten their asses and chose to become obese.

          When I mean by saving, I don’t mean raking and hoarding money, but saving ample amount of money for old age (food, shelter, healthcare). Save money for unexpected circumstances. Live within your means. 401k is about setting aside a small amount from your paycheck until it accrues. Not necessarily “hoarding money” that cause inflation.

          After all, to avoid inflation, the increase in demand should also be matched by an increase in supply.

  49. – the equivalent to endo and casual in Germany is the minijob, but there are rules to at least fund health and pension:

    Only the employer has to pay a lump sum 30% (health insurance 13%, pension fund 15%, wage tax 2% as of 1st July 2006).

    They are of course criticized by leftists and unions, but they do give the employers the flexibility to employ people in peak seasons or for small stuff – there are mothers who work in the morning at clerical jobs for example when the kids are in school, students who earn additional money etc. – and it used to be that the predecessor of minijobs had no health insurance, no pension payment, so at least there is some funding for the pension fund and health insurance now. The employer paying a lump sum makes the minjob slightly less attractive to completely cheapskate employers, because it is about 20% on top of the wage. Might something similar help with endos/casuals? Because completely scrapping endos/casuals might lead to many people totally losing their jobs.

    • – criticism of minijobs, which are similar to endo jobs in their strengths and weaknesses. Since there is a minimum wage of €8.50 now, some minijobs might soon disappear…

      “Minijobs have missed the mark,” said Werner Eichhorst, the deputy director of labor policy at the independent research institute IZA. “They are structured in a way that employers have no incentive to turn those jobs into regular employment and, for tax reasons, employees have no incentive to work more. It’s a dead-end job.”

      Minijobs were meant to be a steppingstone to something better, but some analysts say they keep many locked in marginal work and gradually replace regular jobs. Hourly wages for minijobs usually run between €5 and €10. And about two-thirds of minijob workers lack another form of employment.

      • Minijobs, endos, this has to be discussed in earnest.

        Most contract workers here are not SSS covered, some are, but not all. It could be the reason why the SSS figures have wide gaps in them – more than 30 million non retirees, 2 million retirees; out of the 30 million members who have not retired yet, only 12 million are actively paying members. Where are the 18 million, why are they not actively paying, could be seasonal workers (endo or your minijobs workers or part time workers, those who lost jobs, those who got SSS numbers but not able to get employment, retrenched, or simply victims of delinquent employers.

        The fact that the current executives were able to turn around the financial status of the SSS with less than 50% actively paying members as source of non investment income speaks well for their expert financial management. They did stop the anomalous dividend and per diem payments to themselves, from of SSS owned stocks as per a post I shared above.

  50. Dean Tony La Vina (Ateneo School of Government, key figure in the COP Paris negotiations) has made this comment regarding SSS – unusually harsh for a usually very balanced commentator:

    Dean Mel Sta Maria is right. The President may be right on the SSS veto but committed serious mistakes on the way there.

    “To veto a highly popular bill for the right reasons was a courageous act on the part of President Noynoy Aquino. But at the same time, it highlighted the disappointing failure of the use of his presidential power of appointment and supervision. It may have also shown that the President did not fully understand the over-all power of a veto. It does not only involve the “actual veto” but also, peremptorily, the “threat of veto.”

    Six (6) years of SSS administratorship did not result in substantial increase in pension. This is a clear failure in public service. Were there enough efforts at all to envision and plan out this increase from the beginning of this administration? Or if there were efforts in this regard, were those in position capable of thinking the right measures to meet the needed increase? Or should we just admit that, for a vital institution as the SSS, the wrong administrators were appointed? Were they just simply mediocre? There is no doubt that, in the matter of increasing the financial take of the pensioners, the SSS administratorship was a disappointment. And who appointed these people? The President of the Philippines.

    What added to the exasperation is that there was not even any viable suggestion proffered by the SSS officials and the President in, at least, giving hope that the proper measures will be immediately undertaken even if the result will be felt during the next administration. And worse, everybody remembered the million-peso bonuses that the administrators gave themselves – highlighting, rightly or wrongly, their sinecure jobs as government officials. Their mediocrity did not merit their despicable largesse. There was a marked disconnect between the toiling-private-employees and the SSS officials. On the part of many working-people in the private sector, there was a sense of hopelessness.

    Now let’s talk about the “threat of veto”. If, during the process of deliberations in Congress, it is becoming clear that the policy objectives of the Office of the President and Congress are at odds and the President believes that the latter is making a mistake or becoming too bold in its legislation, the President can legitimately relay the message to Congress that he will veto any future measure of which he is at odds. This is the peremptory “threat of veto”. This is not at all an arrogant move by the President, but a message to Congress that a more effective liaison must be made with the executive department so that a viable measure can be achieved. This is not also encroachment or meddling in the powers of legislation, but merely an effective way to coordinate a coherent and achievable policy of government. In this way, “actual veto” could have been prevented. The question is: did the President use this “threat of veto” effectively or did he actually use it at all? Or did he forget to use it? Or, did he in fact know anything about the dynamics of “the threat of veto”?”

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Ahh Irineo, You have hit so many nails with the hammer ! Congratulations of a well reasoned and informative comment….

      Bill in oz

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, excellent point. It seems like the lock the President had on senators has weakened. Even Drilon is catering to Enrile. The President should have known or warned the Senate. Maybe he was expecting two bills, what came out of the house, and just got the one. “Who goofed?”. an old radio sports announcer in Los Angeles used to ask.

    • karl garcia says:

      The president underestimated the importance of LEDAC.LEDAC could have addressed that threat to veto scenario.

      • LEDAC is interesting, because it adresses exactly the one weakness of a presidential system: the possible disjoint between the Legislative and Executive branches of Government. In a parliamentary system you have the ruling coalition, and the Prime Minister (or Chancellor like Angie Merkel) will be voted by the coalition anyway, and will usually be from the strongest political party in the coalition, which will have its program.

        Coalition agreements in Germany are a very hard process of compromise, ironed out in marathon meetings that sometimes go until 2 a.m. or one-to-sawa, but they usually are adhered to, with notable exceptions that necessitate further discussions among parties.

        There are critics of “The Party State” like constitutional lawyer von Arnim of course, who say that the “Party State” is a form of efficiently institutionalized trapoism, even if he does not use the term and does not know it. The other extreme of course is Filipino cacaphony.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Irineo…I think you would find the Australian system of parliamentary government interesting..There is head of state ( the Governor General who is not political at all.) He appoints the PM and the other ministers of government who are all members of Parliament from both houses.

          Then there is the House of Reps. This members of this house are elected by preferential vote with every member needing 50%p plus 1 vote to be elected..This tends towards building a coalition of parties which have a majority and can form government. The party of coalition of parties with a majority forms the government.

          Then there is the senate : we elect 12 senators from each state & 2 from each territory ( a total of 76 senators ) by proportional voting. The quota is usually about 15%. The votes of candidates who do not get this are redistributed according to the voters preferences until all positions are filled with each getting a quota. This hardly ever results in a government majority. And does give representation to small minority parties like the Australian Greens, a sort of Christian Democrat, and also independents.

          Currently we have a ‘conservative’ coalition in government but it has to negotiate with 7 independent senators and 5 green senators to get legislation passed.This puts a brake on extremist policy positions being implemented by government..It means that the government has to build consensus to get legislation passed.

          If a government bill is blocked by the senate twice..The PM can ask for a double dissolution of both houses and a new election for both the House & the senate.The Bill can then be put to each house again.If it does not pass the senate again, the constitution states that both houses will meet as a single chamber & vote on the bill. End of story !

          This process has happened just once in I think ( 1974 ?) when legislation to set up what is now our publicly funded Medicare program was passed in the teeth of an opposition Conservative coalition’s blocking..

          These quite elaborate measure were specifically devised by our constitutional fathers in the 1890’s after seeing the chaotic legislative process in the USA with it’s over powerful senate.

          Bill in Oz

          • Thanks for that important input… because it used to be that Filipinos saw the US system as the only possible model… but that is changing now I have observed.

            What I once suggested was to make the Philippine Senate by region – 2 Senators each – to have strong figures from each region represented, somehow Federalism Light…

            Because the Philippine system is what it is, and it is better just to adjust it incrementally – imagine how bogged-down in irrelevancies a REAL Constitutional Convention would get.

            • A mixed Presidential-Parliamentary System like in France or Romania might also be an option for the Philippines… how you divide the powers of President and Prime Minister is the question of course… maybe one for the prestige and one for the real boring work.

              OK that was the original idea of the 1973 Constitution, but Marcos had it amended back in a probably rigged referendum… whose name the idea is associated with should not matter.

              Or a Governing Council like in Switzerland – there it has 7 members who SHARE the executive responsibility and one is President for a year, but just to have one to speak for all, but I wonder if that would work with Filipinos. 6 council members, rotating every year?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                What is really important is that the head of state be above & beyond the political domain as a unifying national figure head..Thus even though there may be a government which is conservative ( or Labor ) the head of state is not part of their government..

                Re Senators it’s better to have more than 6 per region. If you use proportional representation. Then small groups & minority views are there in the parliament..And not locked out

                PS I forgot one other matter : Political parties geting more than 3% of the vote are funded from Taxation.There is a formula whereby each vote a party gets is worth about $.70 cents.. And all other donations to parties for election campaigns have to be publicly listed saying who was paid how much by whom.

                Both these laws were introduced in the 1980’s to try & get rid of big money donnors buying political parties.

                Bill in Oz

              • Germany has a similar system of political party funding as well… parties under 5% don’t get into parliament anyway, a rule introduced to prevent disruption through microparties (nuisance parties could be a possible Filipino term) which were common before 1933.

       to a constitutional provision (see below), German regulation of party finance is centred around transparency….The other pillar of the German political finance regime is represented by the rules for public funding of political parties (not of candidates nominated by parties)… The individual party’s grant is distributed based on two criteria: for each vote polled in the most recent state, federal and European election the party is allocated 70 cents;

                As for the unifying national figurehead… NONE of the five main candidates will be that for the Philippines… the country is way too divided internally for that… whoever wins, it will be a bumpy ride for the next six years, the only difference being where the ride is going…

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Unfortunately I have not been able tom deal with that issue..The other structural issues took precedence as I had to understand what SSS is and how it works before tackling the issue of whether the directors have been misusing funds…

                Once the ‘political power’ is taken out of the equation it would be possible I think..Think of how Ireland has matured in the past 40 years with a popularly elected non partisan president…

              • Political maturity is something yet evolving in the Philippines. It quite impressed me when Dean La Vina once posted he will support whichever President the Filipinos vote this year. That is a mature democratic – and very professional – attitude that not everyone has.

       – this article is in German, from a highly reputable Swiss daily, which says the most Philippine stocks are “political stocks”, i.e. depend on connections and power and are therefore risky. It also mentions three major risks that hamper direct investment until now inspite of some gains: still inadequate infrastructure, lack of trust in politics and a still too small industrial base.

      • He was a key figure among the government negotiators at COP Paris. His BBL articles in Mindanews were a major source for my BBL article here as PinoyInEurope, and I corresponded with him before publishing it. He has very well-reasoned opinions, not all of which I agree with, but at least they are an important input and I don’t think anyone can buy his voice. He is for the Philippines I am convinced. That is why I subscribe his page.

    • edgar lores says:

      “And who appointed these people? The President of the Philippines.

      Why must everything be laid at the President’s door?

      As I gather, this President’s appointees refilled the SSS dam that the previous President’s appointees almost drained. It may be true that they did not review and increase pension payouts as they should have, but remember this is a prerogative of power that Congress jealously guards.

      To me, this is a simple case of Congress not doing their homework.

      The sponsor of the bill was Colmenares. The Senate failed to pass the complementary bill. Every rep and senator wanted to play Santa. Ironically, it was the bad guy in the Senate who voted correctly.

      I think La Vina is in his ivory tower taking pot shots at the wrong target.

      • “As I gather, this President’s appointees refilled the SSS dam that the previous President’s appointees almost drained.” I hear different versions of the story, La Vinas is just one.

        This is why I very eagerly but patiently await Bill’s article, to frame further discussion.

        • edgar lores says:

          My objection was directed at La Vina’s criticism — unwarranted to my mind — of the President misuse of veto power… and not whether the President’s appointees performed well or not.

          Note that La Vina is not criticizing the administrators for failure to grow the pool of SSS funds but rather for their failure in “increasing the financial stake of the pensioners.”

          • The financial take… even if the House decides on increases, it is the job of the administrators to grow the money or to take care of it well.

            La Vina seems to be saying – this is my generous interpretation of his words – that the admins did not do their job well enough to justify their bonuses.

            Now I suspend judgement on whether that job was done well or not… the big picture is lacking, which is where Bill’s article could help.

            • I agree on some points only.

              Not managing their other assets, for example. Idle condominium units owned by the SSS that were not leased out thereby missing out on hundreds of million pesos in lost opportunity investment income as found out by COA, It seems that by investment, the SSS executives mean buying and selling, but not leasing them in the meantime while waiting for the right time to sell. Lost opportunity income aggravated by continuous expenditures like condo dues, utilities – these costs a lot!

  51. Madlanglupa says:

    Now Junior enters the SSS veto fray. I want to say, “Can we talk about those IMF-WB loans your parents took advantage of?”

  52. Bill in Oz says:

    What a huge pity his Dad & Mum & all the rest of their mob didn’t think like this when they were running the country….

    Sorry Bong Bong, Bang Bang ( or is it Bing Bong ? ), I don’t trust you Go back to Uni and finish your degree..Ethics might be a useful course of study.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      Bongbong or BBM. Of course their apologists would claim on Facebook that the loans were used for public projects. Such as the notorious Manila Film Center.

  53. Bill in Oz says:

    I think I prefer Bing Bong..( rhymes with Ding Dong ) .. Yes public projects like the Nuclear power plant built on Bataan ..But which has never operated or generated power..It cost the Philippino people 3 times what the same plant cost in Korea or Japan.But the workmanship was too shoddy it could not be started…Apart from being is a high earthquake area..Umm in all a huge waste of public money..I wonder how much went into Marcos back pockets..

    • There was a castle in Austria that was purchased by the banana king and BNP negotiator, Tony Floreindo, one of the many Marcos cronies and/or dummies. Binay learned a lot from the guy he fought with during the martial law days.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Voting for Dictator of the Philippines: Who’s your pick? – So my ordering of preference for Dictator of the Philippines, or King or Queen, going with strength of character and intelligence and what I think are rational ideas would be: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: