Modified accounting of pensioners to ferret out ‘ghost retirees’

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has ordered the 3rd nationwide accounting of police pensioners to ensure that ‘ghost retirees’ will be stricken off and prevent fake retirement claims which had caused the government to lose multi-millions a month, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

The accounting targets the remaining 21,223 PNP pensioners who were not able to update their records in 2019 and failed to avail of the initial Nationwide Accounting with Biometrics from February 27 to March 13 this year and the ensuing updating held from March 14 to last May 11.

Gen. Gamboa, has ordered PNP Retirement and Benefits Administration Service (PRBS) director, Colonel Arthur V. Bisnar, to modify and streamline the accounting process of pensioners to fit the New Normal; adhere to the community quarantine guidelines and protocols of the  Inter-Agency Task Force in the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and most importantly, protect the pensioners who belong to the most ‘at-risk and vulnerable’ age groups.

The PRBS’ target completion date is on June 7.

The nationwide accounting is conducted as part of the PNP’s continuing effort to strike from its pensioners’ list so-called ‘ghost retirees’ which during the previous Aquino administration is said to have caused the government up to P250 million a month due to fake claims.

As a result, the PNP leadership launched a no-nonsense program to purge its list of pensioners of illicit entries and come up with updated accounts of legitimate PNP retirees, widows and minor children of deceased police personnel and other beneficiaries.

Previous anomalies pertaining to ‘ghost pensioners’ at the PNP during the Aquino presidency led in the filing of criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against several active police officers in the aftermath of investigations which led in the identification of some 2,000 ‘ghost retirees.’

It turned out during those days that the syndicate fabricated the names of ‘ghost pensioners’ who also received pensions from 50 to 90 percent of their base pay depending on their number of years in the service.

The scam was discovered in 2011 when the PNP investigated 30 fake widows who showed up at Camp Crame and tried to claim the pensions of dead police officers.

The scam involved falsifying PNP documents and impersonating the widows of deceased policemen in order to collect their retirement benefits.

This time, Gen. Gamboa wants to make it more convenient and safe for PNP pensioners as he directed Tracker (Track-care) Teams from the 17 Police Regional Offices and the PRBS to visit them in their last known address while observing health standards and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

PNP Director for Personnel and Records Management, Major Gen. Reynaldo G. Biay last May 12 directed the PRBS and the DPRM’s Record Management Division to provide the Service Record and Absorption and Retirement Orders of the 21,223 Pensioners.

The idea is to reduce the documents required from the pensioners. At the same time, Police Commissioned Officers will also administer the Affidavit of Undertaking of the pensioners in case a Notary Public is not available due to the quarantine rules.

All Police Regional Directors have already organized and deployed their respective Pensioner Tracker Teams to locate, account and update the records of pensioners in their areas.

National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas also activated the PRBS Satellite Office in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City as well as PRBS sub-satellite offices in the five NCRPO districts to help ease the plight of the pensioners.

Bisnar encouraged all concerned pensioners to communicate with their office thru their hotlines: Globe – 0977 714 5263; Smart – 0961 899 0928; Sun – 0931 064 4316; and TM – 0953 413 5924.

He said pensioners must indicate in their SMS or text message the following: the Pensioner’s Name; Name of the Deceased PNP Spouse if applicable; and their current address.

Bisnar reminded that the Landbank Pension Account of Pensioners who will not be accounted and updated by June 7, 2020 will be placed on “tag and hold” status.

It means that pensions will continue to be credited to their Landbank Pension Accounts but they will not be able to withdraw until such time they are accounted and updated.