THE Commission on Audit has affirmed its 2003 ruling ordering the full refund of the P4.71 million illegal allowances paid to officers and employees of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in 1999.
In a clarificatory ruling released last week, the COA Commission Proper confirmed that Notice of Disallowance No. 2000-017-07(99) covered the entire sum, including the P310,000 medical allowance that was not specifically mentioned in the COA Decision No. 2003-071 dated April 8, 2003.
Reiterating the roster of disallowed benefits, the COA listed representation and transportation allowance (P2.714 million); rice allowance (P1.15 million); meal allowance (P463,896); longevity pay (P69,490); children allowance (P5,760); and medical allowance (P310,000).
It said only the disallowance over the benefits of personnel hired before July 1, 1989 were lifted under the 2003 ruling based on the provisions of Republic Act No. 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law which consolidated all extra pay for government employees.
“It is clear from the above provisions of the law that all allowances and compensation of government personnel are already integrated into the standardized salary rates. Thus, in order to be entitled to the additional benefits, the employees should be incumbents as of July 1, 1989 and they should have been receiving the benefits at that time,” the COA said.
Auditors pointed out that while the MWSS has been paying medical allowances even before July 1, 1989, the pay out to beneficiaries was disallowed because they were not entitled to receive it.
“They were found to be without appointments or were non-incumbents as of July 1, 1989.
Thus, ND No. 2000-017-07(99), which disallowed the medical allowance being received by non-incumbents as of July 1, 1989 is proper,” the COA-CP said.
The decision was signed by COA chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc.