Lacson Seeks Senate Probe of P12.5-B SSS Funds for Stimulus Plan

A Senate investigation looms over a plan to channel some P12.5 billion in private sector workers’ pension funds for the government’s “economic resiliency plan.” 

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed Senate Resolution 850, directing the Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises to investigate the use of Social Security System funds.

“To use the hard-earned money of its members to finance the government’s programs for the poor as well as to help private companies tide over the consequences of the financial crisis is nothing more but a slap to the faces of the 27 million SSS members who are being cheated of what is rightfully theirs,” Lacson said in his resolution.

Lacson also voiced suspicions such a big amount may eventually find its way to administration coffers in the 2010 elections.

“Questions should also be raised as to the timing of the release of the said funds which is perilously close to the campaign period and even to the actual election itself such that said funds might be used only to further the political ambitions of the administration’s allies to the detriment of the SSS members,” he said.

Lacson pointed out the SSS’ main function as decreed by its charter is to extend social security protection to workers and their beneficiaries.

Yet, he voiced dismay that SSS president Romulo Neri claimed the SSS will “contribute” P12.5 billion to the P300-billion economic stimulus fund of the present administration;

Neri claimed the said SSS funds may be allocated to products with sovereign guarantee as provided in its charter.

Lacson reminded Neri that the SSS administration’s “first and foremost” duty is to protect the interest and welfare of its members, who in the first place are the source of its funds.

On the other hand, Lacson noted that Neri’s predecessor, Corazon dela Paz, had urged all SSS members to be vigilant against groups and individuals who may want to use their pension funds especially “for an agenda not legally allowed under the SSS Charter.”

“The arrogant move by SSS President Neri to give P12.5 billion of private pension funds to the stimulus program of the government is made without the knowledge of the SSS members concerned, when in reality these fund owners should have a say as to how their money should be spent,” he said.