Former Baguio mayor, 16 execs liable for P63M in illegal perks – COA
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) affirmed its decision to hold former Baguio City mayor Reinaldo Bautista and 16 other former and current officials liable for granting P63.72 million in unauthorized allowances to city officials and employees in 2008 and 2009.
COA released its 6-page decision last week, affirming 3 notices of disallowance that were originally issued in July 2009. The notices covered the amount of P63,719,087.25, classified as cost of living allowance (COLA).
The officials held liable are required to return the amount to Baguio City's treasury. Aside from Bautista, these are city accountant Antonio Tabin as well as Sangguniang Panlungsod members Rockey Tomas Balisong, Daniel Fariñas, Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Perlita Chan Rondez, Nicasio Aliping Jr, Antonio Tabora Jr, Erdolfo Balajadia, Nicasio Palaganas, Isabelo Cosalan Jr, Richard Cariño, Fred Bagbagen, Elaine Sembrano, Joel Alangsab, Gloria Isabel de Vera, and Gal Weygan.
Employees who received the allowances but were not involved in the decision-making for approval of these will not be held liable.
The ruling denied the petition of incumbent Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who argued that Department of Budget and Management-Local Budget Circular (DBM-LBC) No. 81-05 does not apply to the granting of COLA.
But COA found that the argument does not have merit, because Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 or the Salary Standardization Law states that all allowances are already included in the basic salary.
DBM-LBC No. 81-05 also declares the granting of COLA as an "illegal disbursement of fund." – Rappler.com