Sunday, February 27, 2005

NR0226:GMA sacked Soriquez, why not Winston Garcia?

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release February 27, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

COA report finds GSIS eCard project anomalous

If GMA sacked Florante Soriquez as DPWH secretary on charges of corruption, why isn't she doing the same to GSIS' Winston Garcia? - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today challenged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to take a step back and immediately remove Winston Garcia as president and chairman of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) given the strong recommendation made by the Commission on Audit (CoA) regarding the controversial GSIS eCard project and the GSIS fund transfer from the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines to the private Union Bank.

In its report, the CoA said that the processes employed in the implementation of the eCard project and their repercussions are illegal and violative of law, rules and regulations - among them the RA 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, as well as EO dated September 18, 2003 amending Executive Order No. 109 dated May 27, 2002 Prescribing the Rules and Procedures on the Review and Approval of Government Contracts to Conform with RA 9184.

"The GSIS through Garcia embarked on a multi-billion project without growing the process prescribed by law. There are a thousand and one anomalies going on in the GSIS, but Garcia has been so far successful in gluing himself to his post because of the strong backing of President Arroyo. Why is Garcia so important to the president?," he said. "Pres. Arroyo sacked Florante Soriquez from the Department of Public Works and Highways because of strong allegations of corruption and the protests of employees and other public officials against him. The case against Garcia is much stronger, and the impact of his corrupt deeds more damaging as it affects the economic welfare and security of 1.6 million government employees and GSIS members active and retired. If Pres. Arroyo can sack Soriquez within a week after the scandals erupted against the latter, why is she not doing the same with Garcia?"

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that Garcia has also been avoiding the Congressional investigative hearings into the various alleged anomalies in the GSIS. "Not even his shadow appeared during the last three hearings of the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization or the Committee on Civil Service which are conducting investigations into Garcia's administration and management of the GSIS," he said. Beltran himself has filed some 12 resolutions into Garcia's abuse of authority in the GSIS.

Beltran the original copy of the COA report addressed to Garcia from the COA team that led by Atty. Joel S. Estolatan; Aty. Rhoda Pilena; Atty. Leonor Boadol Atty. Alexander Juliano; and Ms. Rosalina Salvador was dated January 21, 2004; but Garcia has yet to provide explanations in answer the CoA's findings.

It's been revealed that the GSIS, through Garica, sent letters to three government depository banks, the Land Bank, the Development bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank (PNB) inviting them to submit proposals to provide the GSIS product and service dubbed as the GSIS e-card envisioned as an ATM and an e-purse/e-wallet for the system's 1.6 million members, active and retired. Shortly after approaching the banks, Garcia awarded the contract to Unionbank, but the awarding did not go to public bidding.

The law on public bidding that states that all procurement of the national government; its departments, bureaus, offices and agencies, including state universities and colleges and GOCCS, government financial institutions and local government unit should show transparency in the procurement process and in the implementation of procurement contracts. "The GSIS grossly and deliberately failed to comply with the requirements of law and jurisprudence. The bidding invitations it sent to the banks did not include specifications for approved budget for the contract. Neither did the GSIS give out eligibility requirements, instruction to bidders or criteria for eligibility,"

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that the award of the GSIS eCard to Unionbank is also disadvantageous to the government and to the 1.6 million GSIS members, active and retired. "Because of the fund transfer, the government through the LandBank will lose an estimated income of P1,273,625, 726 in seven (7) years representing loan processing fees and interest earnings of alternative investments, exclusive of income which the Land Bank could earn in the billions of deposits/investments of GSIS that were transferred to a private bank, in this case the Unionbank," he pointed out.

Award of the GSIS eCard to the Unionbank will cause the government to lose some P1,273,725 in estimated income for seven years comprising of P632,875,729 loan processing fee of the bank and P640,750,000 interest earnings of alternative investments on the P1 billion eCard project minimum balance requirement, exclusive of income which the LandBank could earn in the billions of deposits/investments of the GSIS that were transferred to the private bank. #


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