OFFICIALS of the Trade and Investment Development Corp. of the Philippines (Tidcorp), a government-owned or controlled corporation, have been held liable by the Commission on Audit (COA) for the illegal approval of salary increases and allowances from 2007 to 2013 totaling P264.4 million.
COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc affirmed the 2015 decision of the COA-Corporate Government Sector-Cluster 2 that upheld the validity of 14 notices of disallowance issued against Tidcorp in 2014.
However, the Commission Proper modified the list of persons held liable by exempting passive recipients who were mostly rank and file employees of the agency on the ground that they only received their share in good faith and had no involvement in approving/authorizing/certifying the pay hike.
“The officials who authorized/approved/certified the grant or payment are solitarily liable for the total disallowed amount. These officials were already aware of the infirmity in granting increases in salaries and benefits without the approval of the President, thus, good faith cannot be appreciated in their favor,” the COA said.
Records showed that the Tidcorp Board of Directors issued Board Resolution No. 1879 series of 2007 on February 28, 2007 approving the Revised Compensation Plan which increased salary base pays by 16 percent effective November 2006 and by another 8 percent effective January 2008.
Also provided in the same resolution were new and increased rates of other cash compensation for Tidcorp officials and employees.
On post audit, the disbursement of the initial P8.2 million increase was found to be lacking
in legal basis. Government auditors recommended that Tidcorp management secure post facto approval from the Office of the President.
Tidcorp claimed it is exempted from existing laws on compensation based on its charter covered by RA 8494.
“Finally, Tidcorp’s claim of good faith must fail. As borne by the records, Tidcorp was already made aware in 2007 of the infirmity in the grant of increases in salaries and benefits of its officials and employees. Tidcorp continued to pay the increased salaries and benefits until 2013, thus, resulting in the amount ballooning to P264,404,571.22,” the COA said.