Office of the Solicitor General

After Calida, Guevarra is now highest paid solicitor general

Jairo Bolledo

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After Calida, Guevarra is now highest paid solicitor general

SOLGEN. File photo of Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra.


In 2023, Guevarra received P17.8 million, higher than Calida's P16.9 million in 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra has surpassed former solicitor general Jose Calida as the highest paid solicitor general.

Guevarra received a total of P17.8 million for his salary and allowances in 2023, according to the Commission on Audit’s (COA) Report on Salaries and Allowances (ROSA). This made the sitting solicitor general the 14th highest paid government official in 2023.

But although Guevarra’s P17.8 million total government salary this year is above Calida’s highest of P16.9 million, he is only number 14 in the highest paid officials in all of government.

Calida still holds the record for landing at the Top 2 of that list, historically occupied by officials of banking agencies. The former solicitor general was on the Top 2 list for 2019 and 2020

Officials from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are the Top 12 highest paid officials. Only above Guevarra in the Top 14 list was Supreme Court Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa at the 13th spot with P19,648,395.90. (READ: LIST: Top paid government officials in 2023)

Guevarra’s Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) and Additional Compensation and Honorarium (ADCOM) amounting to P13,037,884.45 boosted his earnings; his basic salary was much lower at P3.4 million. The rest of Guavarra’s earnings include: P627,744 for bonus, incentives, and benefits, P386,408.94 for allowances, and P354,000 for discretionary and Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses (EME).

Long-disputed rule

Guevarra’s multi-million allowances preserved the status quo of Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) officials being allowed to receive allowances more than 50% of their basic salary, contrary to an audit rule.

COA has long insisted that government lawyers, including those from the OSG, should not receive allowances more than 50% of their basic salary. Guevarra’s basic salary is only P3.4 million, which means that his allowance should be less than P1.7 million. The solicitor general’s allowances are over P14 million.

Must Read

Can Calida receive millions in allowances?

Can Calida receive millions in allowances?

It was COA’s Circular No. 85-25-E, which states that allowances should not exceed 50% of the annual salary. But OSG uses its own law, Republic Act No. 9417, to defend their allowances.

Section 8 of the law states that “the legal staff of the Office of the Solicitor General are allowed to receive honoraria and allowances from client departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government.” The provision did not set any limit on these allowances. Another issue raised in the OSG’s allowances involved taxes.

The COA said there “is no assurance that the correct taxes were indeed withheld or no taxes were withheld at all,” since OSG’s client agencies give allowances directly to OSG lawyers, and not through Financial Management Service. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.