A few weeks ago, a friend eavesdropped a conversation among the employees of this government agency in Manila. The group of elder women were relating the story of a retiring colleague. The colleague had a conflict with a high ranking official, a few months away his retirement day.
Unfortunately, the case appeared like another story of a high ranking official taking advantage of his position.
On the last few months at work, the retiring colleague was filed with charges. He was questioned for a missing desktop computer and an electric fan. One of the elder women said that as consequence, the retiring colleague will be deprived of his retirement benefits.
Cases like these are not new to me. This happens even in the company where I work for. During property inventory, some office equipment appear missing. Though most of the time, there were no form of theft established. Common reasons are evolve on the following
- The equipment has been transferred or borrowed by another office. Unfortunately, there were no paper trail to support, only accounts of employees who knew the situation.
- The equipment, particularly computers, have been replaced. The old or replaced unit has been collected by the IT Office, kept in the storage and later, disposed to the junk shop. Again, the lack of paper evidences to support the turnover happened in this case.
- The equipment is no longer useful. It was set aside for disposal. Someone disposed the equipment and the accountable person or owner forgot about everything
Much as I don’t want to diminish the professionalism of the high ranking official, I find it absurd to to deprive someone of his retirement benefits just because of a lost dilapidated computer and probably, a century old electronic fan.
Rather than filing a case to Civil Service Commission, which surely entails a lot of paper work and energy draining hearings, why not compel the retiring employee to pay or replace the missing equipment? If such is not enough, the high ranking official can probably reassess the value of the missing equipment. In return, the retiring employee can be ordered to settle such amount. Added to this, I think the management of the government agency has its own fault. How come no one is performing property inventory or audit on a regular basis?
My assumptions maybe inaccurate, but this incident gave me an idea of how situations are handled among government agencies. It’s a classic case of how personal issues and positions are used to take revenge or oppress lower ranking employees. I can’t also help but imagine how many similar cases exist? How can a century old government agency cannot implement improvement efforts? How some people failed to realise that simple problems, treated with complicated solutions, actually breed more problems.