By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

FIVE officials of Pangilinan-led PLDT Inc. have voluntarily separated from service starting April 14 in a move analysts said might be related to the listed telecommunication company’s budget overrun.

In separate disclosures on Monday, the country’s dominant telco announced the early retirement of Anabelle L. Chua, its senior vice-president, chief financial officer (CFO) and chief risk management officer, along with Mario G. Tamayo, senior vice-president and network head.

“PLDT did mention during the time of their internal investigation into the P48-billion overrun that it will reorganize management. I think this is the fruition of that,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said in a Viber message.

“Although the investigation concluded that there was no fraud, P48 billion is a huge amount and rather unexpected for a company of such caliber that should have systems in place for accountability mismanagement prevention,” he added.

PLDT also disclosed the voluntary resignation of one of its vice-presidents, Wilson S. Bobier, and its senior vice-president and chief procurement officer, Mary Rose L. Dela Paz.

“Amid the capital expenditure overrun fiasco, it could be that the resignations occurred as key executives under PLDT faced scrutiny over the issue,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

“Late last year we heard PLDT placed its CFO on leave after the disclosure of its budget overrun. It is possible that PLDT recently was much as willing to let go of its CFO,” he added.

Meanwhile, Alexander S. Kibanoff, one of the vice-presidents of the company, was announced to have availed of its manpower reduction program.

Mercantile Securities Corp. Head Trader Jeff Radley C. See said in a Viber message that “trust and confidence” are what PLDT is showing to its investors.

“They mean business when they start removing the department who is overseeing the budget of the company,” he said.

In December last year, the telco said that it would be undertaking a management reorganization process to address weaknesses that allowed the budget overrun to occur.

The statement came after PLDT’s internal probe showed a P48-billion budget overrun in the past four years.

On March 23, the company said that the review conducted by an external counsel for the period 2019-2022 showed “no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment, or bad faith conduct on the part of any employee of the company and no basis to restate the company’s historical financial statements.”

Post-2022, its outstanding commitment to its major vendors for the acquisition of property and equipment was reduced to P33 billion which the company said resulted from PLDT’s entry into settlement and mutual release agreements in March this year.

On Monday, shares in PLDT grew by P24 or 1.9% to P1,284 apiece.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.