MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano approved a P150,000 Christmas bonus for every employee in the House of Representatives.
But at least 3 congressional employees told Rappler they only received P112,000 each, as the bonus was subjected to a withholding tax of P38,000.
“Yes, it was supposed to be P150,000, but they deducted the tax. The net amount is P112,000,” said a House employee, who spoke to Rappler on condition of anonymity.
The amount is P2,000 more than the Christmas bonus received by congressional workers in 2018, when former president-turned-House speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo authorized a P110,000 bonus for every staff member.
Another House worker said the so-called “Speaker’s bonus” was given to employees this year either through their payroll accounts or via checks. A payslip will be provided only when a worker requests for it.
“I’m grateful din kasi malaking tulong sa family. ’Di ako kasali sa supposed ‘disgruntled’ employees kasi super thankful kami sa natatanggap namin,” said the employee.
(I’m grateful for it because this is a big help for my family. I’m not among the supposed “disgruntled” employees because we’re super thankful for what we are receiving.)
The Philippine Daily Inquirer first reported about the increase in the Speaker’s bonus for House employees this year, and how several workers were upset that they were taking home just P112,000 instead of the gross amount of P150,000.
A House insider told Rappler that Cayetano set the bonus amount at P150,000 so employees would still be able to bring home a bigger bonus than what they received in 2018 once the withholding tax was deducted.
Rappler reached out to House committee on accounts chairperson Abraham Tolentino to seek an explanation behind the withholding tax computation for the Christmas bonus. He has not replied to text messages and calls as of posting time.
The accounts panel is tasked to oversee the internal budget of the House for its day-to-day operations, including the salaries and benefits of employees.
The Speaker giving tens of thousands in Christmas bonuses to employees in the House is nothing new.
Another source told Rappler the bonus was P80,000 per House worker during the terms of former speakers Feliciano Belmonte Jr and Pantaleon Alvarez, who was ousted in July 2018 and was replaced by Arroyo.
Arroyo then raised the Speaker’s bonus to P110,000 per House employee in December 2018. – Rappler.com
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