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Malacañang to enforce cap on GOCC salaries

Malacañang will issue an executive order enforcing a cap on the salaries of those in government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said Wednesday. Aquino said in a press conference at the Palace that his administration would issue a new EO on the matter even though former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo had issued a similar directive in 2001 that was not enforced. "It's only a question of enforcing the cap, but if need be we will reiterate the same in a new EO and perhaps modify as necessary to ensure that there is compliance," the president said. The departments of Finance and Budget and Management worked on guidelines for the salaries and benefits of GOCC officials after Aquino revealed in his SONA that board members of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System received excessive benefits under the Arroyo administration. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima suggested that the new EO provide for new appointees in GOCCs to sign "a waiver of various rights due members of the board," Aquino said. Aquino so far issued four EOs, three of which have been questioned before the Supreme Court. Aquino's EO No. 1 created the Truth Commission, to be led by retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., which will investigate unresolved corruption controversies in the Arroyo administration. Allies of Mrs. Arroyo led by House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman questioned its constitutionality before the Supreme Court. Justice assistant secretary Jose Arturo de Castro and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority director Eddie Tamondong also asked the Supreme Court to nullify EO No. 2, which revoked Mrs. Arroyo's so-called midnight appointments. De Castro is also seeking to nullify EO No. 3, which revoked Arroyo's EO No. 883 that grants lawyers "occupying legal positions in the government executive service who have obtained graduate degrees in law and successfully passed their bar examinations" with the rank of Career Executive Service Officer III. Malacañang earlier said it is ready to defend its controversial EOs before the court. The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it sees no pressing need to restrain Aquino from implementing the EOs. —VS, GMANews.TV