San Fernando Regional Trial Court in La Union sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison the manager of a security agency for failing to pay the Social Security (SS) contributions of his security guards.

RTC Branch 66 Presiding Judge Victor O. Concepcion in a 13-page decision last 15 January 2015, found guilty Fred Ventura, Operations Manager of Guardsman Security Agency and Detection Group in San Fernando City, La Union, for Violation of the Social Security Act of 1997, specifically for deducting from the salaries of his security guards and not remitting their contributions to SSS.

Ventura who registered himself as owner of Guardsman in May 2010, denied his ownership over the agency after he was sued in court for SSS delinquency for unpaid premiums from September 2010 to March 2011. In his attempt to be exonerated, he contended that as Operations Manager he is a mere employee of Guardsman and should therefore not be faulted for non-remittance of SSS premiums.

Judge Concepcion in his decision, however, did not rely on the title of the accused to establish the latter’s obligation in remitting the SSS contributions. He pointed out, “to heed accused’s position that he is merely an ‘Operations Manager’ would allow unscrupulous businessmen to conveniently escape liability by the creative adoption of managerial titles.”

SSS filed the case through its Account Officer Glynna A. Galito and Legal Counsel Russel L. Ma-ao and provided free legal services to the Guardsman employees, including the widow of one deceased security guard who was denied SSS benefits because of her husband’s incomplete contributions, faced Ventura in court.

To prove employer-employee relationship between Ventura and his employees, SSS showed evidence that the former exercised control over the operations of Guardsman Security Agency and his guards.

“We hope that this decision will serve as a deterrent to delinquent employers and violators of the SS Law. We do not only provide benefits but also enforces strict employer compliance in order to ensure full protection of our members”, SSS La Union Branch Head Gloria Corazon M. Andrada.