Understandably difficult to give up an annual income of p18 Million especially since p14 million is in "other" allowances, Clark Development corp chief Ricafort refuses to leave despite loss of confidence and respect in recent "fat paycheck" exposé.
Typically in Philippines' government corporations, when there is a change of the country's President, top ranking officials would immediate tender their courtesy resignations paving the way for the President to deploy his own choice of people for those positions. Ricafort broke that tradition by hanging onto his position as CEO of Clark Development Corporation, a job that has been paying him a salary of some p2 Million a year, PLUS over p16 Million in fringe benefits called "other allowances".
Probe into Clark Philippines CDC president Benigno Ricafort’s P10 Million extraordinary allowances continue to baffle senate as inquisition continues. Ricafort’s fat paychecks caused disappointments and humiliation to businesses in Clark Freeport Zone hoping that this bustling can be soon be rid of graft and corruption.
According to the COA report, CDC president Benigno Ricafort was granted P10 million in “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” in 2009.
Ricafort, named in the report as the second highest paid official as well as others also cited in the report, have protested that the COA had lumped into their compensation package the “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” which they said do not form part of their income.
But Ricafort admitted at the hearing that existing rules required him to liquidate the amount only in the form of a “certification.
Given several opportunities to clear their names, top CDC officials continue to take allegations of corruption stemmed from fat paychecks lightly; CDC President Ricafort's answer to the p10 Million payment for misc allowances and expense was "my wife as she asked me where I kept the other funds"
This clearly confirmed the level of respect (and fear) that well-connected people in the Philippines have on the reach of the law. Even with blatantly clear evidence of gross abuse, graft and corruption, top officials in Clark Philippines are still left to carry on with whatever they have been doing. Needless to say, incomes for CEO's like Ricafort, already described as exorbitant by Philippines senators, continue to flow. President Aquino who portrayed himself as a nemesis for graft and corruption, has failed to do anything to curb the plundering of fax payers' money despite all the help the media such as Philippines Daily Inquirer has given him with their expose.
In the meantime, the Philippines continue to the among the region's poorest country and one that is listed in the top of a list of most corrupt countries in the world. Observers and stake-holders in Clark Philippines as well as potential foreign investors watch in disappointment as newly elected Philippines President Aquino fails to remove corrupt government officials despite branding himself as a nemesis for graft and corruption in the Philippines.
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