Retirees of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) will be staging a simultaneous nationwide rally in front of all its branches on November 7, 2023 from 8 am to 12 noon to protest various issues concerning their welfare among others.
PNB retirees in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be marching from the PNB Financial Center in Pasay City to both the Senate and the House to press for legislation granting lifetime pension to former bank employees who were forced to receive gratuity pay arising from the bank’s alleged privatization.
In the city, the retirees will be holding their picket in front of the PNB branch along Session Road to voice out their issues and concerns that need to be acted upon by the bank management.
The retirees claimed that instead of a one time gratuity for their 20 years of government service, PNB employees who received gratuity pay arising from the bank’s privatization should be granted lifetime pension just like retiring government employees who are now getting monthly pension under Presidential Decree 11146 after rendering at least 15 years of government service under Republic Act (RA) 8291 or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) law.
In their manifesto, the PNB retirees pointed out that GSIS should pay retirement benefits and pension based on total years of government service and that the State insurance corporation should comply with the earlier decision of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Court of Appeals (CA) in case of Reynaldo P. Palmer versus GSIS which stipulated that the retirement benefits of government employees, including former PNB workers who re-entered government service should be based on total years of service.
Earlier, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the GSIS Board of Trustees that government employees who re-entered the service on or after the effectivity of RA 8291 cannot claim their previous years of service upon retirement. The SC affirmed the CA ruling that denied GSIS’s motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
The manifesto accused PNB of alleged delaying tactics in the resolution and payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and Special Amelioration Allowance (SAA).
They revealed that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City in the case of PNB versus Goldelio G. Rivera issued a decision ordering PNB to pay the back payment in the COLA and SAA equivalent to 40 percent and 10 percent, respectively of the basic salaries of all employees who were in the service from July 1, 1989 to May 26, 1996. The said decision was affirmed by the CA in 2016 and affirmed by the SC in 2023.
The SC castigated PNB for employing delays, unnecessary pleadings and asking for several postponements and that according to the High Court, PNB’s prayer for the remand of the case to the RTC is another futile attempt by PNB to delay the payment of the back pay in the said benefits.
The PNB retirees also accused the bank of alleged illegal deduction of GSIS gratuity pay from their separation and retirement pay. The SC in the case of Gumelito T. Dalmacio versus PNB ruled that gratuity pay should not be deducted from separation pay because the former is distinct and separate from the latter. Further, the SC declared that the act of PNB of deducting gratuity pay from separation pay should not be countenanced.
According to the manifesto, PNB had been practicing iniquitous separation and retirement pay as the bank paid separation and retirement pay based on basic salaries before and after its privatization instead of the last basic salaries of the employees.
The manifesto accused the PNB of dissolving the PNB Employees Provident Fund because after business tycoon Lucio Tan and his group LTG took over the ownership and management of PNB, they reportedly dissolved the provident fund which was being enjoyed by employees for many years and being enjoyed by employees of government financial institutions and certain government-owned and controlled corporations.
Worse, the retirees claimed that the PNB allegedly refused to refund to the employees the 45 percent bank contributions for which they have a vested right.
On the other hand, the manifesto alleged that PNB created Special Purpose vehicles to reportedly gain control and ownership of the bank. The business tycoon and his group formed three new companies which granted P3 billion loans to three newly formed subsidiaries of the provident fund that had only P1 billion that was invested in shares of stocks of PNB.
The retirees underscored that expectedly, the Lucio Tan group succeeded to the rights of the provident fund.
The manifesto also questioned the ownership of PNB Prime Real Properties that was transferred to PNB Holdings Corporation which enabled the said group to be the controlling or majority stockholder of both PNB and the holding company.
Moreover, the ownership of the PNB’s prime real properties that included the PNB Financial Center and the prime real properties in Ayala Avenue and Buendia Avenue in Makati City was transferred to the PNB holdings Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of PNB under a property for share swap scheme. In the said scheme, the Lucio Tan group who were not stockholders of the holdings company became the controlling and majority stockholders of both PNB and PHC to the prejudice of PNB minority stockholders.
PNB has yet to issue an official statement on the planned simultaneous nationwide rally that will be initiated by retirees to clarify the issues that were raised in the aforesaid manifesto.