MANILA – Pag-IBIG Fund President Darlene Berberabe insisted Friday the fund did not release any unauthorized bonuses to its employees in 2012.
Berberabe said the P37.5 million cited in a Commission on Audit report were part of early retirement packages for employees who have served the government for more than 20 years.
She said the COA issued an audit observation memo that questioned alleged double payment of the benefits.
“The basis of COA in disallowing as relayed to us is that it is double retirement pay because subsequently they also applied under [Government Service Insurance System] GSIS for their retirement benefits,” she said.
Berberabe said it is up to the Government Service Insurance System to determine if there are indeed double payments. She noted that under the GSIS charter, all government employees play a monthly premium so that they can receive a monthly benefit.
The Pag-IBIG Fund president said the retirement benefits are different from the early separation pay.
“Our point is at the point they applied with Pag-IBIG Fund for separation pay because we had that early retirement program pursuant to a re-organization there was no double payment yet because it was subsequent to that separation that they applied with GSIS for their retirement benefits,” she said.
She pointed out that the Supreme Court had an earlier ruling that said the retirement benefit is different from the separation pay. “Different funds, different natures. Our position is that since it is early retirement that means they are not yet of retirement age. It is a separate benefit and they are entitled to it. They may apply for their retirement under GSIS and it is GSIS that will determine if our early retirement is similar to a retirement benefit,” she said.
The official said a Pag-IBIG Fund employee can avail of early retirement if he/she has worked for 10 years or if he/she has reached the age of 50.
She said the employee who availed of early retirement but is not yet of retirement age would not yet get retirement benefits of GSIS.