AROUND 70 Philippine National Bank (PNB) retired employees staged a lightning rally at its C.M. Recto branch as part of a simultaneous nationwide protest against the bank’s alleged refusal to pay due compensation.
The retirees wanted to call the attention of PNB against allegedly delaying the resolution and payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and Special Amelioration Allowance (SAA), as stated in their manifesto.
Atty. Tomas Sentillas, a retiree, said they also wished to give justice to fellow retirees who already passed away before they received backpay benefits.
“Wala gyud mi formal nga association but we are having this rally on our own volition. Kanya-kanya mi nga nag-attend diri,” Sentillas said.
Sentillas recalled receiving allowances and COLA equivalent to 40 percent of their basic salary before the implementation of Republic Act No. 6758 or Salary Standardization Law.
“Kami nga mga empleyado, for a period of 7 years, from 1989 up to 1986, wala mi mabayari og COLA ug SAA, which is a big amount considering that it is 50% of our basic salary, nga kami tanan karon wala makadawat,” Sentillas said.
The RTC of Pasay City issued a decision ordering PNB to pay the COLA (40%) and SAA (10%) of the basic salaries of all employees in service from July 1, 1989, to May 26, 1996. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2016 and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court (SC) on March 29 this year.
The SC castigated the PNB for employing delays, unnecessary pleadings, and asking for several postponements.
“To the court’s mind, PNB could no longer be allowed to assert that no evidence has been presented when such is due to its own fault,” the SC decision read.
The decision added, “All things considered, the court affirms the ruling of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA, directing PNB to pay respondents their monetary claims.”
Sentillas recalled the PNB filed a motion for reconsideration in July 2023, following the SC’s order which they believe is another tactic to delay payment and resolution.
The retirees, through Goldelio G. Rivera, requested a congressional inquiry or investigation against the PNB last Oct. 12 in a letter addressed to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez.
Among their grounds for the legislative inquiry were: the “illegal deduction by PNB of GSIS gratuity pay of PNB retirees from their separation pay, iniquitous retirement plan, dissolution of PNB employees’ provident fund, the creation of special purpose vehicles to gain control and ownership of PNB, ownership of PNB prime real properties was transferred to PNB holdings corporation (PHC) which enabled LTG to be the controlling or majority stockholders of both PNB and PHC, non-compliance of GSIS to retirement benefits and pension based on total years of government service.”
They also proposed legislation “to grant lifetime pension to retirees who were forced to receive gratuity pay from PNB’s privatization”.
Lourdes Almario, 80, who worked in PNB for 33 years and retired in 2001, along with other retirees can only hope that “whatever due the employees, should be given to the employees, as we have rendered our best years in the PNB.”
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