OGCC loses appeal on lifting of disallowance

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    THE Commission on Audit (COA) has denied an appeal by lawyers from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) for the lifting of notices of disallowance (NDs) on the payment of their monthly travel, transportation and other expenses totaling P573,000 from 2014 to 2015.

    In a decision dated January 14, 2020, the COA Commission Proper barred the petition for review for having been filed beyond the allowable period of 180-days and upheld the October 3, 2017 ruling of the COA Corporate Government Sector-Cluster 3 that affirmed the disallowance.

    “Petitioners had already exhausted the reglementary period of six months or 180 days to file the petition. Thus, the assailed decision has become final and executory,” the commission ruled.

    It added that the OGCC lawyers did not offer any explanation to justify the belated filing of the petition for review that could have been the basis for COA to consider whether there is any reasonable ground to relax procedures.

    “Having attained finality, the assailed decision is immutable and unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect,” the COA said.

    The disallowed compensation was given to OGCC lawyers while they were assigned at the APO Production Unit, Inc., a government-owned or controlled corporation responsible for printing Philippine passports.

    Copies of the COA ruling were furnished to OGCC lawyers Efren Gonzales, Ma. Dolores Rigonan, Abegail Joan Orilla-Orara, and Fiona Pontejos-De Leon.

    Even if the appeal were to be given due course, the COA said it will still be denied for lack of merit as the disallowed extra pay contravenes Executive Order No. 878, series of 1983 which defines rules when OGCC lawyers may receive additional privileges and compensation.