A GRAFT court has a weak case against Mayor Enrico Echiverri of Caloocan City as expected after an in initial settlement of P15,786,039.87 in unpaid Government Service Insurance System’s premium contributions for city-paid workers.
Echiverri said there is very little evidence directly linking him to the violations cited in the complaint filed by Vice Mayor Edgar Erice with the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The State has a weak case against me for alleged failure to remit GSIS contributions,” he raised.
The dismissal of the suit hinged on a memorandum of agreement (MoA) recently inked between the city government and GSIS, he said.
“No less than GSIS President and General Manager Robert Vergara who gave us the acknowledgment of a restructured repayment,” he noted.
Under the arrangement, GSIS has condoned 50 percent of the interest on unpaid compulsory premium contributions of the city-paid workers, “but not to exceed P50 million.”
After the MoA signing, the city government paid P15,786,039.87 as initial downpayment.
Vergara immediately restored the loan privileges and benefits of city hall employees pursuant to Republic Act 8291, or the GSIS Act of 1997.
He gave both the city government and GSIS a chance to reconcile their accounts, saying the former must undertake payment within a period of 36 months with interest rate of 12 percent per annum on or before the 10th day of every month.
Councilor Susana Punzalan of District 1 authored a resolution authorizing Echiverri to enter into an agreement with GSIS to address the failure of former mayor Reynaldo Malonzo to remit employees’ premium contributions.
“Employees can now avail themselves of loan applications,” Echiverri announced.
The city-paid workers thanked the mayor the speedy resolution of the non-remittance of their premiums, blaming the previous administration for the lapses.
GSIS records had encountered problems when the insurance agency’s database crashed and destroyed its members’ records.
Echiverri said they have even overpaid the state pension fund of P3,019,326.77 for the contributions of 1,208 dead, retired, resigned, fired and transferred workers.
Erice accused the city government owed GSIS some P300 million, but failed to present sufficient evidence in court.