Solons seek House probe on SSS stock scheme
Two lawmakers have formally asked the House of Representatives to investigate the allegedly improper stock trading by some Social Security System executives using the state pension fund’s brokers.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, the chair of the banks and financial intermediaries committee, and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Resolutions Nos. 1433 and 1434, respectively, to initiate an inquiry into the controversy.
The issue came to light after SSS Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña filed an administrative complaint for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct against Rizaldy Capulong, executive vice president for investments, and three other officials.
The officials were accused of withholding the SSS-accredited stockbrokers’ investment advice from the agency so they could buy and sell stocks and earn profits using the said information that could have been used to sustain the pension fund instead.
Evardone wanted his own committee to look into the alleged profiteering as it could lead to “investments opportunity losses of the SSS to the prejudice of the corporation and its members” – referring to the private sector workers who sustain salary deductions and expect insurance benefits in return.
The lawmaker noted that SSS was mandated to make investments, such as stocks, to avoid depleting the pension fund and serve the needs of ordinary employees.
Evardone stressed the need to ensure the sustainability of the SSS considering that President Rodrigo Duterte had approved an increase of P1,000 in pension benefits, which would supposed shorten the actuarial life of the pension fund to 2032 from 2042.
Meanwhile, Zarate in his resolution said the controversy made it unreasonable to increase the burden of the ordinary employee in sustaining the pension fund’s life.
Plans are currently underway to increase in January the rate of members’ contributions to 12.5 percent of the monthly salary credit, from the current 11 percent.
“Considering that those in charge of increasing and improving the members’ fund life through prudent and high-return investments are instead the ones sabotaging the members’ fund, it is unjust for the members to suffer additional burden,” Zarate’s resolution read.
The leftist lawmaker added the issue made it “prudent to conduct an auditing on all the assets of the SSS board members and other officials, as well as lifestyle checks.”
This was “to ensure that they are not profiteering by using their positions in the agency while at the same time pushing for contribution increase or burdening the members.” /atm
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