SSS urged to suspend officials involved in stock trading controversy

MANILA, Philippines – Workers' group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) urged state pension fund Social Security System (SSS) to suspend its officials who might influence an investigation into questionable stock trading.

"We [urge] the SSS administrators to temporarily suspend all its officials involved to safeguard the document and prevent them from influencing the internal investigation process being conducted on the controversy," ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said in a statement on Tuesday, October 31.

SSS Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña accused 4 top-level officials of earning by trading stocks using stockbrokers who manage the agency's pension fund. La Viña, who was President Rodrigo Duterte's social media director during the 2016 elections, currently sits as commissioner of the SSS Investment Oversight Committee. 

La Viña filed a complaint against Executive Vice President (EVP) for Investments Rizaldy Capulong, VP for Equities Investment Division Reginald Candelaria, Equities Product Development head Ernesto Francisco Jr, and Actuarial and Risk Management Division chief George Ongkeko Jr.

"Candelaria endorsed the purchases of Francisco, Francisco endorsed the purchases of Candelaria, and all of these were approved by the EVP even though he knows that the broker they were using was the broker of SSS as well," La Viña said in an interview with ANC's Headstart on Monday, October 30.

"The SSS stockbroker conducts a briefing with us every month about what are the good stocks and IPO (initial public offering) available. They can access this type of information that will allow them to earn profits because of their position. They used that information to profit for themselves," he added. 

The Social Security Commission (SSC) is already investigating the matter, according to SSS Chairperson Amado Valdez.

Tanjusay called for a transparent probe into the issue, saying it has caused "undue fear" among SSS members.

"We are calling for a transparent and credible investigation into the controversy. The members would have been kept in the dark if there was no news exposé. That's why we are worried that the members' funds could have been compromised and that there's collusion among SSS officials," he added. –

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.