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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Employer gets 7-year jail term for unpaid SSS premiums

A Quezon City trial court has sentenced a former school owner to maximum imprisonment of seven years and a P50,000 fine for failure to remit contribution payments of employees to the Social Security System (SSS), court records showed.

Regional Trial Court Judge Bayani Vargas found Lolita Albano, who used to own the Cainta, Rizal-based Twinpeak Learning Center, guilty of failure to remit P94,407 in delinquent SSS payments from July 1992 to June 1998.

“Since the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, this court could only hand down a guilty verdict,” the judge said.

The court ordered the arrest of Albano after she jumped bail and evaded the scheduled hearings since her arraignment on September 2000, which the judge found as an admission of guilt.

Albano ignored SSS’ billing and demand letters and made only one partial payment of P13,403 after the pension fund charged her in court. Florentino Alberva, the SSS account officer who handled the case, testified that an employee filed a complaint against Twinpeak on her unpaid contributions in 1998.

SSS Senior Vice President for Legal and Collection Group Amador Monteiro said the decision served as a warning to delinquent employers violating the Social Security Law, which provides imprisonment of up to 12 years.

“The law requires employers to pay SSS contributions on or before the tenth day after the applicable month,” Monteiro said. “Failure to do so denies workers access to SSS benefits and loans during times of financial need.”

SSS collects P797M, sues 1,600 delinquent employers
The Social Security System (SSS) has collected a total of P796.77 million in overdue contributions from delinquent employers last year after the agency took legal action against them, a top official said today.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Romulo Neri said the SSS has sued a total of 1,623 employers in 2008 for violations of the Social Security Law, which carry fines of up to P20,000 and a maximum imprisonment of 12 years.
Among those charged were more than 200 employers that failed to register and refused to present employment records to SSS account officers, who monitor companies’ compliance with the law.
“The rest of the cases were for non-remittance of contributions, which remains as the most common violation among employers,” Neri said. “Because of this, members cannot avail of SSS benefits and loans during times of need.”
Employers are required to remit their workers’ SSS premiums on or before the tenth day of the following month. Delinquent companies are charged a three percent monthly penalty on late contributions under the law.
The state-run institution collected a total of P475.38 million last year from employers that responded to the demand letter sent by SSS lawyers. Companies sued by SSS paid a total of P321.39 million in 2008.
The SSS files charges against delinquent employers in court or before the Social Security Commission, the agency’s highest policy-making body which hears cases on SSS-related disputes.

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