GSIS Chief is at It Again: Leader of Teachers’ Group Slapped with 4 Libel Raps

Among the issues raised by Gaite and his group were the non-posting of teachers’ premium payments, deduction from their benefits due to the government’s non-payment of its contributions, cross-default policy, the housing loan policy of GSIS, ill-advised investments, purchase of Juan Luna paintings, purchase of Meralco shares, US$1.4 billion investment overseas and ineffective P700-million ($12,708,787 at the 2005 average exchange rate of $1=P55.08) computerization project. Garcia has denied all these allegations.

The case against Gaite was dismissed in 2005 by the Department of Justice (DoJ) due to lack of merit, only to be resurrected this year.

Gaite filed a P10,500 (US$212.72 based on the November 15, 2008 exchange rate $1=P49.36) bail to gain his temporary freedom.

It’s the teachers’ role to watch for corruption

Prof. Sarah Raymundo of the University of the Philippines said that it’s the duty of educators to be watchdogs against corruption.

“Isa sa pinakaimportanteng papel ng titser ay ang isiwalat ang katiwalian. At ang kaso laban sa isang magaling at iginagalang na lider-guro, katulad ng tagapangulo ng ACT, ay isang malinaw na pag-atake sa buong sektor ng kaguruan mismo (One of the most important roles of teachers is to expose corruption. And the case against a good and respected teacher-leader such as the ACT chairperson is a clear attack against the whole education sector),” Raymundo said.

Raymundo, a professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines’ (UP) College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, is a member of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (Contend).

On the other hand, Dr. Ramon Guillermo of the All-UP Academic Union said that if Garcia is transparent and if he “pilots” the GSIS well, then he would not receive any criticism.

“E, hindi siya transparent, e (But he’s not transparent),” Guillermo said.

A confederated libel vs. GSIS

In statements issued to media, Garcia said that accusing him of mismanagement is a “confederated libel committed by different columnists writing practically the same unfounded allegations against the GSIS.

“We can only surmise that unseen forces behind the anti-GSIS demolition job had fed them the patent lies, contained in their misleading columns,” stated Garcia.

Lucio Yu Jr., counsel of Garcia and the one who filed the libel cases, said the write-ups and commentaries were “baseless and malicious.”

He said it is untrue that Garcia pocketed P3 billion ($60.77 million), from the P30 billion ($607, 779,578) sale price of the Meralco shares as his commission.

Garcia maintained that the GSIS could not have been disadvantaged by the sale because it sold the Meralco shares at P90 ($1.82) per share last Oct. 27, at a time when Meralco shares were selling at P44 ($0.89) at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

He said that by any standard of price valuation, therefore, the shares were effectively sold twice the prevailing market price. “By no stretch of the imagination can such sale at a premium be considered as disadvantageous to the GSIS,” Garcia said.

ACT members said they would continue to organize and consolidate their ranks, and would continue to seek redress of their grievances.(

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