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The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) has convicted the president of an information technology (IT) services firm for its failure to remit Social Security System (SSS) contributions of its employees in direct violation of Republic Act 8282, which is also known as the Social Security Act of 1997.
RTC Branch 48 Presiding Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano sentenced Cytronics International Inc. (CII) President Franklin K. Meneses to a jail term of six years and one day up to twelve years and one day, and to pay SSS about P1.2 million in contributions and penalties, as well as other accruing penalties and lawsuit costs.
“As president, Meneses is primarily responsible for managing the affairs of CII as well as company’s violation of the law. We will not hesitate to go after employers who neglect their SSS obligations,” said SSS Assistant Vice President for Operations Legal Department (OLD) Atty. Renato Jacinto S. Cuisia.
During the trial, SSS Account Officer Carolyn Villanueva-Adalia testified that it took her more than four years to file the complaint from the time she sent the billing letter to CII on August 24, 2007. According to her, she had to recompute the amount due after CII availed of the Contribution Penalty Condonation Program for Employers in 2009 and then failed to remit its installment payments.
“The SSS gave CII a chance to settle its delinquency thru the Condonation Law of 2009 because it is more important for SSS to collect what is due for the company’s employees. However, despite the opportunity given to CII, the company failed to meet its commitments under the agreed installment plan. We have no other option but to take the case against CII to court,” said Cuisia.
Based on the pension fund’s computation, CII's delinquency amounted to P2,761,248.58 from November 2000 to September 2010. According to Adalia, the computation is based on the date that CII reported the closure of its business to the SSS sometine in 2010.
However, the court ruled that the company’s liability should be computed based on April 10, 2010 payroll instead of the date it reported its cessation of operations to the SSS. Hence, CII’s delinquency amounted to P1,186,301.92 instead of the total computed by SSS.
Aside from Meneses, the court also charged Ruperto K. Capistrano and Leopoldo G. Soberano Jr., who are both members of the CII board, for violating the Social Security Law. However, the two men remain at large.
“While the case against Meneses has reached a decision, the one against Capistrano and Soberano has been archived while waiting for their arrest or voluntary surrender. We seek for assistance from CII employees and the public in obtaining information that may lead to their arrest,” said Cuisia.
Meneses has filed his Notice of Appeal to the court ruling. However, according to Atty. Leandro X.M. Viloria, Jr., handling lawyer, SSS is ready to defend its case to ensure that the state-run agency will get what is due for its members and serve as reminder to employers that they are duty-bound to follow the law.