Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Garcia to be Booted Out of GSIS---Finally!

Garcia is on the way out. This news from ABS-CBN:

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and General Manager Winston Garcia will soon be replaced.

"It's just a matter of talking to his replacement," Aquino said in a Malacanang briefing on Wednesday.

Previously, Aquino said the person being eyed to replace Garcia, a banker, is in the process of working out the details of his exit from the private sector.

Garcia, who was appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo, has been involved in several controversies. He was acquitted last year by the Court of Appeals of graft in connection with the purchase of paintings by two Filipino national artists worth more than $1 million in 2002.

The GSIS chief has also drawn flak from several sectors, especially GSIS members, for his alleged mismanagement of the state-pension fund agency.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Malaya Columnists Wants GSIS Audited

In his Sept. 2, 2008 column, Ray O. Arcilla, a Malaya columnist, has this to say about the incompetence of the GSIS under petty bureaucrat Winston Garcia.

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to audit the books of Meralco. Fine. But many believe COA should also audit GSIS.

GSIS claims that an audit of Meralco would reveal a can of worms. Many believe that an audit of GSIS would unravel not a can, but a barrel, of worms.


The GSIS introduced the eCard System Plus to pay the pension of its retirees more than two years ago. But some 700 in the United States (by GSIS' own admission) have not been paid their pension. There are more in other foreign countries. At an average of P300,000 each, a conservative figure, GSIS owes these people P210,000,000. Where is that money? Is it earning interest for the pensioners concerned?

GSIS says these pensioners have not been paid because they have not enrolled in the eCard System. How the heck can they do that when they have to travel long distances to enroll in GSIS kiosks in just four locations in the US, namely, Los Angeles , San Francisco , Chicago and New York ?

GSIS finally decided to close down the kiosks. They were not effective in enrolling the pensioners in the eCard system. Instead, GSIS resorted to using the website to enroll the unpaid retirees.

At first, GSIS President Winston Garcia made a show of communicating directly with Ambassador Rodolfo Arizala who lives in Santiago, Chile , to tell him about Skype. Arizala was told to buy a laptop and other paraphernalia just so he can be enrolled in the eCard system. After a painstaking process, Arizala finally got his back pension.

Arizala's experience was a breeze compared to that of Adelaida Fajilago (, another GSIS retiree confined to a nursing home in New York because of a severe stroke.

Listen to what her brother-in-law said about Adelaida's experience:

"In my view, this e-Card and voice verification requirements re pension payment of my sister-in-law Adelaida Fajilago is an inconvenience not only for the pensioner but also for her family.
"Her family was required to prepare a computer unit with webcam capability, and to enroll at to have an account for the pensioner. Since there was no available internet access in the nursing home for this purpose, Adelaida's family took the risk - due to her health condition - to take her home for said purpose, plus the fact that it was daytime there and night time here. While to travel is not convenient for Adelaida Fajilago, her family did the best way possible in order to comply with the GSIS requirements.

"The process started a little bit past 8 p.m. here with the GSIS asking Adelaida questions about her work, residence while still there in the Philippines, and other questions to verify her identity; then they took pictures of Adelaida with two (2) identification cards, and asked additional questions about her address and situation here.
"Then the voice verification followed. Adelaida was asked to count from zero to nine three times while the GSIS personnel were taking voice recording; it took a while doing this part since there were instances when Adelaida's voice was low and could not be captured by the recording; there was an instance when she started at one instead of zero; there was an instance when she counted up to ten instead of up to nine only. It appeared to me that the count from one to nine must be clear and identical/similar, as much as possible, three times. Any error meant it must be repeated.

"When all the requirements were accomplished to their satisfaction, Adelaida's family asked them as to how long it will take to process the which they answered, they will do their best so that Adelaida can have it before her birthday this coming September 10. I am not sure when the e-card would arrive here and what would be the next step."

Adelaida's brother-in-law added:

"Prior to this e-card/voice verification requirements adopted by the GSIS relating to pension payments, Adelaida had complied with all documents required by the GSIS relating to her pension benefits/payments; at the same time, she executed in favor of her eldest son a Power of Attorney for this purpose.

"Now that the GSIS has identified/proven that indeed Adelaida is a pensioner/alive, would it not be rational for the GSIS, and in fairness to Adelaida, to release her accrued lump sum pension to her son by virtue of the Power of Attorney

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The education secretary has a beef with the GSIS for its failure to address the discrepancies in its records with regard to teachers' contributions in the pension fund.

He complains that instead of facing the issue headlong, the GSIS resorts to propaganda using its vast media resources to drown out his legitimate complaint on behalf of the teachers.

"These problems can't be solved with GSIS public relations campaigns but with the real overhaul of GSIS members' servicing system," said Secretary Jeslie Lapus, according to a report in a Manila newspaper.

"Our teachers are the biggest contributors to GSIS. It is only proper that they be given special attention by GSIS," he said. But his grievance has hit a brick wall.

Winston Garcia, acting totally in character, pushed back, saying it is Lapus who is to blame. The GSIS, he said, is "ready to make the necessary corrections as long as the DepEd submits to us the updated service records."

The only problem here is that Garcia's rhetoric does not match the reality.

The aggrieved teachers, however, should not lose hope. His protector, the corrupt Macapagal-Arroyo regime, is now on its death throes.

When the time comes, people should look back at the tenure of this totally inept bureaucrat to find out to what the extent his incompetence has harmed the public he is supposed to serve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


MalacaƱang is running a Web site where citizens may air their complaints or ask for help. It contains a forum devoted to GSIS, and none of the entries by citizens has anything good to say about the current GSIS leadership.

One of the entries is by a certain Mang Pandoy, which is obviously a pen name of a GSIS paid hack. In it, this Mang Pandoy alleges that the author of this blog is somehow connected to a New York-based newspaper out to tarnish the reputation of Winston Garcia, GSIS president, as pay back for GSIS' refusal to advertise in the newspaper.

The accusation, of course, is flat wrong. This blog has no association with that newspaper in any way, shape or form.

Garcia should focus his attention on addressing legitimate grievances against his excretable performance at the GSIS instead of unleashing his paid hacks to do a snow job on his failed leadership. To the intelligent citizens, self-serving press releases and asinine comments from the GSIS serve no purpose, not even as an a-- wipe.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


At best, GSIS can be accused of false advertising. At worst, it is running a scam.

Our father has finally received his eCard in the mail after months of waiting - a wait that started with a hellish experience at the start of the enrollment process to obtain the card at the Philippine Consulate General in New York City last March 9 (see the earliest post in this blog for a full picture of that chaotic and bizarre bureaurcratic f---up)).

As instructed, our father dutifully filled out the UnionBank card that accompanied his eCard with his specimen signature and eCard information and mailed it back to the GSIS. However, since his birth month is in August, which is just a few days away, he followed the advice of the Consulate to have it validated in August. This will save him an extra trip. GSIS requires that pensioners have their card validated once it arrives and then to have it validated annually during their birth month. Going to the Consulate in August just makes perfect sense.

But here comes a letter from the GSIS asking him to activate his UionBank account by calling a toll-free 800 number. After trying to call for hours and getting a busy signal each time, he called up his phone company and sought their help in dialing the supposedly toll-free number.

And guess what? The phone company said he had to call a special number where he found out that the toll-free call was not free at all. It required him to cough up close to $8 to make the call.

GSIS should not advertise this number as toll-free when it is not. Our guess is that it has entered into an agreement with a phone company to extract charges. Whatever it is, GSIS should clearly spell this out in its mailings.

It was their failure to communicate in the first place that got them into trouble with the eCard.

The GSIS media office has a tendency to exaggerate and, as a result, ends up churning out propaganda and confusing people.

Some news reports have indicated that Winston Garcia spends oodles of money for propaganda purposes, besting all other government agencies.

But for such an enormous amount of pensioners' money spent on prettifying his image, how come they cannot get their facts straight?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The latest controversy surrounding the inept chairman of the GSIS offers a glimpse into the backroom deal-makings that occur within the corrupt Macapagal-Arroyo regime.

Some congressmen have come up with some serious allegations against GSIS boss Winston Garcia, and it is not pretty. But this bozo who heads the GSIS seems to carry so much clout with Macapagal-Arroyo so that, despite his many blunders and indiscretions, he remains in office.

Now he is pulling all stops to install his cadaverous father as speaker of the House. Whose money is he using to gain the support of lawmakers? Your guess is as good as ours.

Friday, June 15, 2007


In his column appearing in the June 16th online edition of Malaya, Lito Banayo has this to reveal: "A challenger is being accused of buying the votes of congressmen, allegedly using, not his money, but the funds of government employees tied up to the pension fund he manages."

This allegation is also coming from at least four congressmen who are accusing Winston Garcia of the same shenanigan. They allege that GSIS funds and assets are being used to finance the bid of someone from Cebu, related to the GSIS honcho, to unseat Jose De Venecia as House speaker.

Some reports claim that as much as P300,000 is being offered to any congressman whose support is crucial to clinch the speakership.

The GSIS is flushed with money as it has been witholding the pension of thousands of retirees and other beneficiaries for many months now.

It requires that they first register in the failed eCard program before their money can be released. But since the eCard does not work in many instances, the GSIS is able to hold on to their money, allowing it to earn interest. In the meantime, it has created a Catch-22 situation for the pensioners.

By rights, the interest that these monies earned should be given to the pensioners --it is their money, after all -- but now it seems clear why Garcia insists on punishing them with non-payment of their pension.

We shall leave it to our discerning readers where the pensioners' money is going in light of these ugly revelations.