MANILA (UPDATED) - Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has emerged as last year's top earner among members of President Aquino's official family with recorded earnings of P4,217,650 in 2013.
The Commission on Audit said Alcala's earnings are down from the P6 million he received from government in 2012.
COA said Alcala received P1,085,940 basic salary, P29,000 honoraria, P577,939.18 allowances, P127,190 bonuses and incentives and P291,999.95 discretionary funds for a total of P2.082,069.14.
However, he more than doubled this amount with the compensation he got as council chairman of the National Food Authority in the amount of P2,105,581.33.
The COA report showed Alcala sat in the governing boards of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) for which he was paid little or no compensation.
These are the Development Academy of the Philippines, Human Settlements Development Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, National Dairy Authority, National Tobacco Administration, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, Philippine International Trading Corporation, Philippine Rice Research Institute, Sugar Regulatory Administration, National Agri-Business Corporation, and the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation for which he received no pay.
Alcala's paycheck is nearly double that of second highest paid Cabinet member, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz who earned P2.29 million in 2013.
The other top earning Cabinet officials are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (P2.18 million), Health Secretary Enrique Ona (P2.16 million) and Commission on Higher Education chief Patricia Licuanan (P2.10 million).
Vergara is highest-paid
However, Cabinet officials' paychecks still pale in comparison to the salaries and allowances last year of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Robert Vergara.
For the second year in a row, Vergara has come up as the highest paid government official, according to the COA report.
Vergara received a total of P12,088,476.14 in salaries and allowances last year, the COA said.
He also topped the list in 2012, taking home more than P16 million.
Second highest paid among government officials in 2013 was Land Bank of the Philippines president and chief executive officer Gilda Pico, who received a total of P10,292,930.
In 2012, Pico only earned around P3.4 million.
Third on the list was Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amanda Tetangco Jr., who took home P9,998, 692.52 in 2013. Tetangco was the highest paid official in 2011.
Three other BSP officials were also among the top 10 highest paid in 2013.
BSP deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo (8th) earned P7.58 million, while deputy governors Nestor Espenilla (9th) and Vicente Aquino (10th) received P7.50 million and P7.41 million, respectively.
The president and chief executive of Pag-IBIG Fund, Darlene Marie Berberabe, was the fourth highest paid official with P9.39 million while Angeles City Water District general manager Reynaldo Liwanag was fifth with P8.8 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were two top officials of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), its chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. with P8.11 million, and its president and chief operating officer Jorge V. Sarmiento with P 7.89 million.
President and chief executive of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Arnel Casanova was also among the highest paid government employees, ranking 11th on the list with P7.14 million.
COA’s 2013 ROSA listed principal officers and members of governing boards of government-owned and/or controlled corporations and of their subsidiaries and by secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and other officials of equivalent rank of national government agencies who received salaries and allowances in fiscal year 2013.
Lawyer Paulo Salvosa, spokesman of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), told dzMM Friday that high salaries and allowances allow the government to remain competitive in hiring top executives.
"Ang magandang katanungan po dito ay anong klaseng public official po ang karapat-dapat na nagseserbisyo sa ating mga kababayan, lalo sa panahon natin, marami tayong problema na malalaki na dapat ayusin," he said.
"Dahil malaki iyung ino-offer ng mga malalaking kumpanya, naiimpluwensiyan po iyung pinapasweldo sa public officials sa GOCCs," Salvosa said.
"Dapat masusulit po. Isa po siyang realidad. Kapag naghahanap po ang pamahalaan ng mahuhusay na maglingkod sa bayan, kailangan harapin din po iyung laki ng ino-offer ng competition po ng ibang malalaking kumpanya," he added.
"Sinisigurado naman po ng Governance Commission na kung ganyan kataas ang suweldo, kung ganyan ang realidad, dapat kada taon, may nagagawa po sila para sa bayan. Kaya lahat ng GOCC po, may score card, nagco-commit po sila," he said.