For and in behalf of thousands of Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) pensioners, I, a pensioner myself, am requesting a no-nonsense Senate investigation into the endless list of anomalies involving our monthly pensions. These irregularities have already been brought to the attention of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but the exposť could not see print?in fact it is being suppressed?because the PVAO is headed by Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Ernesto Carolina, and the wife of Teodoro, Rep. Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro of Tarlac province, is a daughter of the Inquirer owner.
PVAO pensioners have not received their monthly pensions since January 2008; those in far-flung areas, since December 2007. Also, PVAO pensioners have not received a single centavo out of the P3 billion that was released to pay for pension arrears, differentials, etc. We believe that the amount has been pocketed by corrupt PVAO officials.
Recently, Teodoro and Carolina issued an ?order? to deliver our pension through ATM accounts, instead of through monthly checks, which are released through mail/post office. The order was described by Teodoro as a ?cleansing process? meant to weed out from the PVAO list of pensioners the ?dead? who still ?receive? their pensions and to eliminate ?syndicates? operating in the PVAO.
Teodoro and Carolina should know that there are no more dead pensioners who are still receiving pensions. Since 2006, all pensioners have been interviewed personally by PVAO representatives and have been asked to submit their most recent pictures showing them holding the latest newspaper issue. The PVAO required the interview and photo as a way of verifying whether a pensioner is still alive. The only doubtful ?living? pensioners are those living abroad.
And the syndicates in the PVAO are the PVAO officials themselves who are robbing the pensioners of the benefits due them.
Part of the Senate investigation should focus on the missing funds allotted for the payment of the pension arrears, differentials and other backpay.
There is so much delay in the release of the pension. The Senate?s immediate action on the matter would be highly appreciated.
LEONCIO CRUZ, PVAO pensioner
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The facts are: First, the Philippine Daily Inquirer regularly exposes anomalies in the monthly pensions of veterans and is fully supportive of the veterans? pursuit of justice. Second, the wife of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro is not a daughter of the Inquirer owner.?Editor