THOUGH warnings are issued throughout the year, many “ghost pensioners” still manage to victimize the Philippine National Police (PNP), the country’s premier law enforcement arm.
That’s why it’s not surprising that the PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, now wants to impose higher penalties on fake pensioners, ghost retirees and overpayment claimants.
During the Aquino administration, records show that the government lost P250 million a month due to fake retirement claims, prompting the PNP leadership to look deeper into the problem.
The 205,000-member police agency, which is civilian in nature but national in scope, launched a nationwide no-nonsense campaign to purge its master list of pensioners of “illicit entries.”
The scam was discovered in 2011, when the PNP investigated 30 fake widows who showed up at Camp Crame in Quezon City and tried to claim the pensions of dead police officers and men.
Reports said the scheme involved the falsification of various police documents and impersonating the widows of deceased law enforcement officers in order to collect their retirement benefits.
And now the PNP is going after the widow of a policeman who died on February 18, 2019.
The widow of the late Sgt. Fortunato Gomez de Mesa did not report his death, enabling her to continue receiving her husband’s monthly pension for one year, which amounted to P535,355.93.
After discovering the anomaly, the PNP’s Police Retirement and Benefits Service (PRBS), headed by Col. Arthur V. Bisnar, filed criminal charges against the widow, L. de Mesa.
Purging the PNP master list of pensioners of illicit entries is, without doubt, a move in the right direction which the Filipino people, including the ordinary citizens, fully support.