Palic – persona non grata?

There’s this saying, “What goes around, comes around.” And in the case of provincial Human Resource Management Officer, Atty. Anabelle Palic, it seems she’s now hanging by the end of the rope.

I met Anabelle some years back when she was also involved in another controversy in the previous administration. I wrote a bit about it and she asked to sit down with me so she can give her side of the story.

I gave her my time and she got to explain things and dispute allegations. However, I asked her for documents so I will have some basis plus I do not want to get libeled if I write her side. She never did and that was the end of the story.

I remembered that days before the turnover of the provincial administration from the late Gov. Freddie Marañon to Gov. Bong Lacson, the former reassigned Palic to the Office of the Governor after the Department of Budget and Management disallowed the creation of the human resource officer and the department itself.

But just days after the transfer of power to Gov. Bong, he reinstated Palic to her position despite reports that there was an ongoing signature among provincial employees against Palic.

There were news stories that came out about it but the employees heeded the call of the new governor to give his people a chance.

Alas, 20 months later, the employees apparently have had enough of Palic and this time, demanded for her removal claiming she has caused them misery. Hmmmm, was it caused by sheer power-tripping?

I’ve received many complaints about Palic but it’s not my style to write about unsubstantiated claims but clearly, when you have over 500 employees asking for her head, there must be a valid cause for it.

PACE chair, Renelo Lastierre didn’t mince words when he accused Palic of causing misery to provincial employees.

Lastierre said that Palic’s policies such as requiring employees who were quarantined for COVID-19 to file a leave of absence and seek clearances were just too much.

Ah, perhaps Palic does not fully understand the threat of COVID-19 nor of the necessity for immediate isolation once an employee feels even just one of the symptoms of the highly contagious virus. To be required to file an LOA and be cleared before quarantining themselves smacks of ignorance on how this virus works.

Other complaints against Palic include many requirements on retiring employees, delay in the releases of special risk allowance, non-availment of longevity pay, unreasonable transfer of some health workers, deliberate delay in the preparation and release of the job order workers plantilla.

Palic who closely works with the office of the governor should have been oriented that these are extraordinary times and if we can make allowances, especially for retiring employees who are in their 60’s, that could have been appreciated given that these older people are considered part of the high-risk groups.

These retirees worked their asses off for many years, long before Palic came into the picture. Unless there are disallowances that these retirees need to answer before they are given their exit pay, they should be given extra consideration.

“Several retirees have not received their GSIS retirement benefits yet because HR is not endorsing their papers. She held their papers, that’s why they cannot yet enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Lastierre said and this is really sad especially during these times when everyone needs every penny they can to survive this pandemic.

Again, let us remember that what goes around, comes around. And someday, Palic will also retire (unless she gets terminated ahead of her retirement date) and when that day comes, I am pretty sure she would not want to bear the difficulties she has imposed as the PACE alleged.

More than 500 employees signing that petition for Palic’s removal is no joke and I guess the provincial administration recognized that if they do not address this, it can boomerang back at them. For while Palic may continue to enjoy the trust and confidence of this administration, the discontent among the bigger body must be given cognizance.

I said this before. An HR position usually gets extreme affection from co-workers as she is the one tasked to work closely and look after their welfare. It’s either you are loved or otherwise. And now it’s clear that Palic is in the otherwise side twice over.

Worse is the claims of Lastierre that a culture of fear and retaliation is pervasive at the Capitol today because of Palic’s acts. Seriously! How did she get to be that powerful? Who is backing her up to be that abrasive?

But this time around, PACE is not backing down and are ready to mount silent protests like prayer rallies and wearing black ribbons among others.

And fortunately, the present admin caved in and reassigned Palic back to the governor’s office while an investigation is ongoing. As Provincial Administrator Atty. Ray Diaz said, they cannot anymore ignore the same complaints aired then and again now.

Again, when one is not getting sympathy the second time around, it is clear where the problem lies. It is unfortunate that Palic did not use the chance given by Gov. Bong when he reinstated her to endear herself to her colleagues.

Rather, she embarrassed the present leadership as she did the previous one and it will not be surprising if this time around, the employees will get their voices heard…finally.*

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