MANILA, Philippines– A report released last week by the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the legality of the P130.375-million retirement package disbursed in 2013 to 60 staff members and officials of the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF).
According to the report, the Early Retirement Incentive Plan (ERIP) granted to the to these employees was the equivalent of disbursing “double payment,” which is against the GSIS Act, as amended by Republic Act No. 4968, or the Teves Retirement Law. Under this law, “supplementary retirement benefits’ – like the ERIP – may not be given.
The report pointed out that the same personnel had already been given a total of P52.445-million retirement pay by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
“The disbursements of P130,374,667 in ERIP to 60 HDMF officers and employees constitute double payment for being supplementary because ERIP was granted on top of the regular GSIS retirement benefits… rendering the expenditure illegal,” the report stated.
The COA said that they letters of demand should be sent to each of the retirees who received the ERIP, requiring them to refund the money.
A precedent to this situation was set in 2012, when the COA likewise disallowed granting the ERIP to 20 retiring employees of Pag-Ibig. The retirees concerned were likewise ordered to refund the ERIP to the government.