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Cebu News

COA to Bantayan officials: Refund P100T ‘illegally’ distributed honorarium

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- The Commission on Audit ordered Bantayan officials to direct election officers and some town employees to return the more than P100,000 honoraria given to them “without legal basis.”

 “We recommend that all concerned officers of the agency under the Municipality of Bantayan, Cebu be directed to refund the amount of honorarium received. A notice of disallowance will be issued to the effect,” said COA in its audit report of Bantayan’s 2014 operations.

 In their review of the town’s transactions last year, state auditors noted that the town paid a monthly honorarium or a total of P114,000 for January to October 2014 to the election registrar, municipal local government operations officers (MLGOO) and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) “without legal basis,” a violation of Section 95 of RA 7160, Budget Execution Guidelines No. 2004-01 and COA Circular No. 2013-003.

 Section 95 of RA 7160 states that “no elective or appointive official or employee shall receive additional, double or indirect compensation, unless specifically authorized by law.”

 Under Budget Execution Guidelines No. 2004-01, those granted honoraria by the town last year are not listed in its rules and regulations, as only, among others, regional/provincial/city prosecutors, judges of trial courts, clerk of courts and public school teachers.

 Meanwhile, the COA Circular allows the issuance of honoraria or other fringe benefits to government employees “subject to the approval of the President upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.”

 In an Audit Observation Memorandum, the town explained its action, saying it was under a Local Budget Circular and Commission on Elections documents.

 But COA maintained that the practice is irregular and that it constitutes illegal disbursement of public funds.

 COA further recommended to the town officials to strictly comply with the provisions of the laws “to avoid personal liability.”  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC AUDIT OBSERVATION MEMORANDUM BUDGET EXECUTION GUIDELINES NO CEBU CIRCULAR NO LOCAL BUDGET CIRCULAR AND COMMISSION MUNICIPALITY OF BANTAYAN NBSP PUBLIC ATTORNEY SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT UNDER BUDGET EXECUTION GUIDELINES NO
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