Court stopped from using P62B worth of Napocor assets to pay off terminated employees
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court stopped the Quezon City regional trial court from enforcing the P62-billion garnishment of assets of the National Power Corporation and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) as payment for terminated employees.
In its ruling, the high court’s special third division said “court’s action today…stops the execution of the writs of garnishment and allows the Court to determine who are entitled to be paid under the terms of its previous resolution and how much is entitled to be paid.”
The high court also took into consideration letters of several Cabinet secretaries including Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla to the high court expressing their concerns about the amount and noting the “injurious effects” to the economy and the energy sector.
Petilla said if the court forces the collection, they will be left with no funds to buy fuel for power production.
The controversy stemmed from the complaint of Napocor’s Drivers and Mechanics Association (DAMA) that questioned their dismissal in mid-2000. The high court, on September 2006, ordered payment of backwages in lieu of reinstatement to almost 5,000 dismissed employees. In 2008, the high court ordered the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to compute the amount to be paid to DAMA members. Several motions were filed and the high court managed to resolve all the motions in June 2014.
Following the June, 2014 ruling, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court issued a notice of garnishment for Napocor’s assets to pay DAMA. The prescribed settlement is pegged at P60.24 billion plus attorney’s fees and cost of execution making the amount reach P62 billion.
Psalm was included in the case because Napocor’s assets were turned over to PSALM for management and disposal.
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