COA: P164.2 million payroll for baragays unauthorized
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The city government of Lapu-Lapu spent P164.2 million in payroll for the honoraria of residents in the different barangays of the city without authority from the City Council last year.

The Commission on Audit, in its 2018 Annual Audit Report, said the amount was charged to a single expense item of the budget which is contrary to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Gabriel Luis Quisumbing et al. vs. Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia.

The City Budget Officer stated that the Quisumbing case refers to infrastructure projects lumped into one.

However, the state auditors pointed out that in the Quisumbing case, it was stated that should the appropriation ordinance describe the project in generic terms there is the obvious need for a covering contract for every specific projects that in turn requires approval by the Sanggunian.

In the review of the Registry of Appropriation, Allotment and Obligation and the pertinent vouchers, COA noted the expenses comprise of payrolls for the honoraria of persons in the different barangays of the city.

Attached to the payrolls are the certifications from the barangay captains that the person noted in the payroll had satisfactorily completed their task or duties.

COA also noted that the expense items in the budget were stated in lump sum or generic terms and did not state that the appropriation is to be distributed to the different barangays with their corresponding amount.

“The lump sum appropriation in the budget would require specific Sanggunian approval and may also be required for the payment of services which are neither specified in the appropriation ordinance now encompassed within the regular personal services and maintenance operating expenses,” said COA adding that it is contrary to the Quisumbing case.

It also cited Section 22(c) of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, which provides that, “unless provided in this Code, no contract may be entered into by the Local Chief Executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sanggunian concerned. A legible copy of such contract shall be posted at a conspicuous place in the provincial Capitol or the city, municipality or barangay hall.”

COA asked the city government to submit an approved Sanggunian resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into contract for projects or programs to be implemented under lump sum appropriation and that expenses conform with the object of the expenditures and its purpose as presented in the budget.—  FPL (FREEMAN)

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