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Duterte should look at suspicious GSIS deals

Something’s afoot at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and we fear that the hard-earned money of hundreds of thousands of our public schools teachers and government workers are now at risk.

When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, he promised a corrupt-free government. He said he will not tolerate even just a whiff of corruption in government, much more, his appointed officials.

Since early in his tenure, the President has kept his word, firing key cabinet and government agency executives for corruption charges. Not a few were top supporters and allies in his campaign for the Presidency.

In fact, just last week, he announced the firing of all Commissioners of the Presidential Commission of the Urban Poor (PCUP) for excessive travelling.

They join the company of other officials he fired for corruption such as former Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Undersecretary Ted De Leon of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and a number of others.

Now, we heard that something suspicious is happening at the state pension agency. This allegedly involves the cornering of insurance and reinsurance coverage of GSIS requirements by preferred companies.

The question begs to be asked then. Are GSIS officials involved? The President might want to take a closer look.

Apparently, some financially savvy officials of the GSIS, in cahoots with finance officials have allegedly cooked up a dastardly plot that will earn them millions of pesos easily.

How? Allegedly through the purchase of bloated premiums for its insurance requirements.

One of which is an insurance treaty requirement meant to safeguard and earn from the insurance treaty revenues for the country and pensioners.

For example, before the end of 2016, GSIS offered its 2017 insurance treaty requirements to the market with a P375 million authorized budget cap (ABC).

Do you think all is well and good, right? Let’s take a closer look.

The problem is, global markets and analysts priced and valued the treaty needed by GSIS at some P350 million only. That’s a P25 million excess over the true worth of the services needed.

So far, no GSIS top official has come forward to explain the P25 million overprice. Not one offered a clue where the P25 million went or who gained from the overpricing.

Certainly not then GSIS Chairman now Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who presided over the affairs of the agency since his appointment last March together with erstwhile Officer-In-Charge, Nora Saludares.

Pardon my cynical mind, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Of course, do you seriously expect any of the top GSIS honchos to admitting any knowledge of how this strange mathematical computation was arrived at?

This scheme is said to be one of the easiest sources of huge commissions for certain GSIS officials and their partners in the scheme. In fact, insiders say it had been ongoing under various administrations and apparently, up to this day.

Unfortunately for the present GSIS dispensation, but good news for the pensioners and government workers, the cat is out of the bag.

This practice should be finally put to an end.

To shed light on this scheme, records through the years show who were the preferred partners.

Those in the know say the old syndicate members which count insiders, their favored insurers and their godfathers in the Finance Department still dictate how the process goes.

We were told that just last November 29, despite unanswered queries about its flawed bidding data and rules, the GSIS proceeded to bid out its 2018 insurance treaty requirement.

The 2018 agency authorized budget cap is P450 million while analysts and the markets are saying that the requirement needed is only P350 million.

Only three prospective bidders have turned up and “shown interest” for this project.

The first is Federal Phoenix, part of the Zuellig Group, which used to employ a current senior GSIS official.

The second is Malayan Insurance owned by the Yuchengco family.

The third bidder is Pioneer Insurance, a new entrant. One of Pioneer’s senior executives is reportedly the wife of a top Malacanang official.

Last we heard, there was a failure of bidding because the market found the requirement overpriced.

However, the question is : Who will benefit from this overpricing scheme had the bidding not failed?

Furthermore, our sources said this matter allegedly never got into the GSIS Board of Trustees for approval despite the policy that all accounts P50 Million and above should be reported to the Board for confirmation.

Is it also true that prior to Duterte’s term, Pioneer never won any account in GSIS? Now, within just over a year into this administration, Pioneer has captured 11 out of the 31 large insurance accounts of GSIS.

We hope the current GSIS Board led by newly appointed President and General Manager Jesus Clint Aranas, will have the courage to initiate an investigation into this aborted mess to insure the proper usage of government funds.

Millions of government workers particularly our public school teachers are waiting for answers. Their hard-earned money is at stake.

We trust that the President will continue to keep his promise, to root out corruption in government.

Mr. President, you are the last hope of our government workers who are depending on GSIS for support in their old age.

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