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Neri appointed as SSS Administrator

After being bedridden for the past couple of days because of the flu, I was only able to read what’s been going on in the news a couple of hours ago. After reading the first few headlines online, I was half-wishing that I didn’t get out of bed in the first place. Having been forced on a diet which consisted mainly of lugaw, instant noodles and mamon, reading through articles was a real downer.

Romulo Neri–the same Neri of the notorious ZTE deal–will be stepping in as SSS Admininstrator by August 1. The same Neri who showed such loyalty to one of the most corrupt, most distrusted President in our history. As my dad eloquently put it: Ang lakas talaga ng kapit!

Instead of allowing myself to write what I really feel (complete with expletives!), I decided to re-post the following from an article in inquirer.net by Neal Cruz.

So the questions foremost in the minds of SSS staff and members are: Will Neri make a good SSS administrator? Will he preserve SSS funds or was he made to head the social welfare cluster to be able to use SSS funds to buy the support of the poor, but which is not the intent of the SSS law? SSS money belongs to the members who pay the premiums that become the funds that are invested by the SSS so they will grow and returned to them as retirement pay.

As shown in the ZTE-NBN case, Neri is an honest man. But as was also shown, he is loyal to his benefactor. Remember, when he told Ms Arroyo that he was offered a P200-million bribe to approve the ZTE-NBN deal, she told him to “approve it anyway” and he did. So would he be able to resist orders from the Palace as did Teodoro and De la Paz? Experience has shown that the two more pliable administrators who succeeded Teodoro led the SSS to investment disasters. Members can only wait with bated breath.

With bated breath indeed.

As an SSS member, I can only hope that the Palace does not intend to use its funds on any of its so-called “humanitarian” programs. With the elections close by, I am doubly suspicious of all government-funded projects.  To say that I am suspicious of Neri is an understatement–I would pull out my membership from the SSS right now if it were possible! It is only natural for me to want the person I am entrusting my money to is someone I trust; but after watching the whole ZTE ordeal, I’m not so sure that Neri is that person.  Corazon de la Paz (the outgoing SSS administrator) may have been criticized for her more conventional methods but I think I’d choose her any day over someone who would follow the President as blindly as Neri did.  Yes, he may not have succumbed to the 200-M bribe but to not have the gumption nor the balls to resist GMA’s orders is not something I can easily forgive or forget.

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