Vivian Velez holds back P500K retirement pay of former FAP exec Leo Martinez; Leo seeks Malacañang's help

by Rachelle Siazon
Sep 5, 2020
Vivian Velez (left) says there is no sufficient legal basis for former FAP director general Leo Martinez's retirement pay amounting to PHP1M. The first tranche of the payment was granted to Leo when he stepped down from his position October 2019.
PHOTO/S: Vivian Velez / Leo Martinez Facebook

Hindi pumayag si Vivian Velez na ibigay ang last tranche ng retirement pay para sa dating Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) director general na si Leo Martinez.

Si Leo ay nagsilbing director general ng FAP sa loob ng 16 taon bago siya nagretiro noong October 31, 2019.

Pumalit si Vivian bilang director general ng FAP noong November 5, 2019.

Nakatanggap ang PEP.ph mula sa isang showbiz insider ng kopya ng palitan ng liham nina Leo at Vivian hinggil sa isyu.

Ayon sa mga dokumento, ang kabuuang halaga ng retirement pay ni Leo ay PHP1,052,777.67.

Natanggap na raw ni Leo ang kalahati ng kanyang retirement pay—na humigit-kumulang sa PHP526,388.835—noong October 2019.

Pero sinuspinde ni Vivian ang pagbigay ng "second at last tranche" ng retirement pay ni Leo.

Noong March 3, 2020, pormal na nagpadala ng liham si Vivian kay Leo.

Sabi rito ni Vivian, walang "legal basis" ang paggawad ng retirement pay kay Leo.

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Ang FAP ay isang government institution na binuo upang tulungang mapaganda ang working conditions ng film workers sa bansa.

Bilang government agency ang FAP, kailangan daw sumunod sa panuntunan ng "civil service and government auditing procedures" pagdating sa paggasta ng pondo nito.

Punto ni Vivian: "Its officers are subject to the ethical standards of public officials and any money that goes into its coffers and disbursed are public funds.

"Thus, given the circumstances under which the 'benefit' of 1,052,7777.67 Pesos in your favor was approved, it does not appear that this satisfies the requirements of law."

VIVIAN PROVIDES REASONS FOR DENYING LEO'S REQUEST

Marami raw nasilip na "red flags" si Vivian.

Una ay wala raw pinagbasehang "standard" o "formula" sa computation ng retirement pay ni Leo.

Ikalawa ay "questionable" daw ang nag-apruba ng budget dahil mga indibidwal umano ito mula sa private sector.

Ikatlo ay wala umanong "clearance" mula sa Department of Education, ang government agency na may mandato para pangasiwaan ang FAP.

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Sinabi rin ni Vivian na nakasaad sa civil service law na ipinagbabawal sa appointive public officer ang tumanggap ng "additional or double compensation."

Paliwanag pa ni Vivian:

"To be candid, we have not found any sound legal basis for the benefit you seek which you have partially received already.

"In view of the foregoing, I am constrained to deny your request.

"However, I do welcome your providing the basis for the benefit that you seek.

"In the alternative, I am also willing to formally query the State Auditor, the Civil Service Commission and/or the Office of the Solicitor General on this particular issue so that a proper opinion may be rendered."

Sinabi rin ni Vivian na lubhang maaapektuhan ang budget ng FAP kapag inawas dito ang natitirang retirement pay ni Leo.

LEO APPEALS TO MALACAÑANG FOR HELP

Makalipas ang ilang buwan, dumulog si Leo sa Malacañang upang tulungan siyang makuha ang natitirang retirement pay niya.

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Ayaw raw itong i-release ni Vivian.

Ipinadala ni Leo ang kanyang sulat kay Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea noong August 24.

Ipinaliwanag dito ni Leo na malaking bagay sa kanya ang retirement pay lalo sa panahong wala siyang pagkukunan ng income.

"I have had no work since the lockdown in March and have not received any income since then.

"As our resources are almost wiped out, this payment due to me can definitely help pay our household bills and other essential needs like our maintenance and other medicine, plus doctor appointments.

"I am a senior citizen thus I have not left my home since March."

Diin ni Leo, may karapatan siyang makatanggap ng retirement pay matapos ang serbisyong ginampanan niya sa FAP.

"I have served the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) for 16 years and all records will show how much our office was able to bring in millions since I sat in office.

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"FAP is under the Office of The President but does not receive any subsidy or budget."

LEO SAYS APPROVING BODY OF RETIREMENT PAY IS LEGIT

Sinabi ni Leo kay Medialdea na inaalmahan niya ang pagtutol ni Vivian na i-release ang last tranche ng kanyang retirement pay.

Noon pa raw March 11, 2020 ipinadala ng mga abogado ni Leo ang reply letter ng aktor kay Vivian.

Naka-attach sa sulat ni Leo sa Malacañang ang kopya ng reply letter ng kanyang mga abogado kay Vivian.

Ang mga abogado ni Leo ay sina Francisco Rodrigo Jr., Tomas Guno, at Vera Shayne Salcedo ng Rodrigo Berenguer & Guno Law Office. Si Atty. Rodrigo ay asawa ng aktres na si Boots Anson Rodrigo.

Taliwas sa pahayag ni Vivian, ipinaliwanag ng tatlong abogado na lehitimo ang approving body na pumayag bigyan ng retirement pay si Leo.

Binubuo raw ito ng Board of Governors, alinsunod sa panuntunan ng FAP.

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Ang mga miyembro raw nito ay ang Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association (PMPPA), Movie Producers and Distributors Association of the Philippines (MPDAP), Kapisanan ng mga Direktor ng Pelikulang Pilipino (KDPP), Katipunan ng mga Artistang Pilipino sa Pelikula at Telebisyon (KAPPT), at Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP).

Kasama rin ang Film Editors Guild For Motion Pictures (STAMP), United Film Musical Directors of the Philippines (UFIMDAP), Production Designer Guild of the Philippines (PDGP), Assistant Directors and Production Managers' Guild of the Philippines (AD/PM), at Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc (MOWELFUND).

Katuwiran ng mga abogado ni Leo (itals provided): "Please note that the members of the board are all ex oficio members, that is, they became members of the FAP board by reason of the positions they were holding at the time.

"Hence, their qualifications cannot be questioned."

LEO EXPLAINS BASIS FOR HIS RETIREMENT PAY

Ayon pa rin sa mga abogado ni Leo, may isang dating FAP officer ang tumanggap ng retirement pay na PHP227,586.21 noong 2017; at isa pang dating officer na tumanggap ng PHP150,000 noong 2002.

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May mga kaso rin daw kunsaan walong dating FAP officers na na-retrench noong 2007 ang binigyan ng separation pay na nag-range sa PHP20,000 to PHP179,000.

Hindi naidetalye sa sulat ng mga abogado ni Leo ang standard ng computation para sa retirement pay ng aktor.

Ngunit sinabi nilang sa kaso ni Leo ang halaga ng retirement na ginawad ay ibinase sa tagal ng tenure ng actor bilang FAP director general.

Dagdag pa rito ay malaki raw ang kontribusyon ni Leo para lumago ang pondo ng FAP.

Sabi pa rin ng mga abogado ni Leo: "He discovered that FAP was entitled to a share in the cultural tax collected by the local governments in Metro Manila and, through his tireless efforts, FAP collected approximately Thirty Eight Million (Php38,000,000) Pesos."

Noong nanunungkulan pa si Leo ay "PHP33,000" lamang daw ang suweldo ng aktor.

Gayong napag-alaman daw ni Leo na noong umupo sa puwesto si Vivian ay tinaasan umano ang suweldo nito, pati ibang staff members ng FAP.

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Punto ng mga abogado ni Leo: "Further, our client considered his tenure as director general of FAP, not as a source of income, but as 'payback' to an industry that he loved and was good to him.

"This is the reason why he was satisfied to receive a salary in the measly amount of Php33,333.33 a month.

"The incumbent director general herself found the said salary to be unreasonably inadequate as, according to our client, her compensation package was considerably higher than what our client was receiving."

Hindi rin daw applicable ang sinasabi ni Vivian na "additional or double compensation" ang sinisingil ni Leo sa FAP dahil retirement pay daw iyon.

MALACAÑANG LEAVES DECISION TO VIVIAN

Tila hands-off naman ang Malacañang sa isyu.

Nakakuha rin ang PEP.ph ng kopya ng sulat ni Malacañang assistant secretary Atty. Kim Raisa Uy.

Dito ay nakasaad na ipinapasa ni Uy kay Vivian ang natanggap na sulat ng Malacañang mula kay Leo.

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Nasa kamay raw ni Vivian kung paano reresolbahin ang apela ni Leo.

Bahagi ng pahayag ni Uy: "Advice of the action taken hereon direct to the party concerned shall be highly considered and most appreciated."

Bukas ang PEP.ph sa anumang pahayag ng mga personalidad na nabanggit sa artikulo.

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Vivian Velez (left) says there is no sufficient legal basis for former FAP director general Leo Martinez's retirement pay amounting to PHP1M. The first tranche of the payment was granted to Leo when he stepped down from his position October 2019.
PHOTO/S: Vivian Velez / Leo Martinez Facebook
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