AFTER waiting for more than 20 years, 10 security guards assigned to the Pangasinan State University (PSU) can finally collect their overtime pay for rendering extra hours of duty from 2000 to 2003.
In a six-page ruling released last week, the Commission on Audit granted the claimants’ petition for payment of overtime services amounting to P678,737.85.
Benefiting from the ruling are Rodolfo Lopez, Mariano Payomo, Domingo Parayano, Domingo Bruan, Isidro Cruz, Emilio Quinto, Sixto Valencerina, Antonio Sison, Joehannes Arenas, and Roger Beltran.
Parayno and Sison have passed away without seeing the fruit of their labor. The COA said their heirs will get their share of the amount based on the number of duty hours.
Records showed former PSU president Rodolfo Asanion, by authority of the Board of Regents, issued special orders granting leave credits, in lieu of cash payments to the 10 security guards for rendering overtime work.
However, the OT payments were not released. So when Lopez retired in 2015, he wrote then PSU president Dexter Buted asking that he be paid the sum of P60,977 due him. The other nine claimants later joined the petition.
However, the PSU vice president for administration said the conversion of OT pay to leave credits has no valid legal basis. The same university official then requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to allow the school to use funds from its current year budget.
The DBM instead instructed the PSU to advise the security guards to file their claim with the COA.
In the ruling signed by COA Chair Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc, the commission noted that the university has an obligation to compensate the security officers for services rendered.
“It can be inferred from the records that PSU authorized the petitioners to render OT services. In fact, the SOs (special orders) which converted the OT payments into leave credits is an acknowledgment and admission by the PSU that the OT services were rendered by the petitioners,” the COA pointed out.
Even while it agreed that OT pay cannot be legally converted in to leave credits, the COA noted the claimants have already retired hence they could no longer avail of compensatory time-off with full pay which is the policy allowed by the Civil Service Commission and the DBM.
“The foregoing notwithstanding, this Commission rules to grant this money claim, … on the basis of good faith on the part of the petitioners who honesty relied on the regularity of the special orders issued by the PSU President. They believed that their OT services were added to their leave credits,” the COA added.