P6M disallowance vs Southern Leyte State U officials affirmed

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    THE Commission on Audit has affirmed notices of disallowance issued against the payment of various allowances and cash assistance to employees and officials of the Southern Leyte State University in 2007 and 2008 totaling P6.22 million.

    COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc issued the five-page decision last December 2, denying the petition for review filed by individuals held liable for using the income of the university for personnel benefits.

    The disallowed perks include the Strategic Planning Workshop Allowances SPWA) and the Extension Service Performance Assistance (ESPA) released to officials and employees of SLSU Bontoc Campus, Hinunangan Campus, Sogod Campus, and Thomas Oppus Campus.

    The COA Regional Office No.8 noted that the cash releases were sourced from Fund 164, a special trust fund for income generated by the operations of the state college or university (SUC).

    It added that only the university’s Board of Regents can authorize the release of the said funds but only for “instruction, research, extension or other programs/projects” of the SUC.

    Likewise, the 2007 and 2008 General Appropriations Acts prohibited the use of income realized by the SUCs for payment of allowances and other benefits not authorized by law.

    Reviewing the appeal and the submission of the COA-RO8, the Commission Proper affirmed the position of the COA Regional Director that the grant of SPWA and ESPA violated several laws including RA 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law, the 2007 and 2008 GAAs, COA Circular No. 2000-002, and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memornadum Order No. 20, s. 2011.

    “These allowances are deemed included in the salaries of the officials and employees of SLSU. Thus, a separate grant of such allowances is unlawful,” the COA said.

    While it acknowledged that the Board of Regents has the authority to appropriate SUC funds to carry out its purposes, the COA said such power is not absolute as the Board is required to conform to existing laws and regulations.