DOST officials liable for P10.6-M cash incentives – COA

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) dismissed the appeal of former and current officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) over the disallowance of cash incentives amounting to P10,644,705.28 under the past administration. 

COA released a decision on Monday, October 24, stating the DOST's approval of a collective negotiation agreement incentive violated a number of provisions from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Circular 2006-1.

Based on the circular, the collective negotiation agreement is a one-time benefit. Funds should be sourced from savings from the agency's operating expenses, and those savings should be made via cost-cutting measures.

An audit of the DOST's financial records pointed to collective negotiation agreement incentives being paid out to officials and employees: some P5.871 million in 2010, and P4.774 million in 2011.

 

The audit team leader and supervising auditor for the DOST disallowed the disbursements on November 17 and 18, 2011. Although the DOST claimed to have undergone cost-cutting measures, the documents could not support the claim that savings were actually generated.

These collective negotiation agreement payments had been going on since 2004, despite adverse audit reports, observation memoranda, and notices of suspension and disallowance.

The following were held liable for the 2010 collective negotiation agreements:

The following, meanwhile were held liable for the 2011 collective negotiation agreements:

Despite a February 14, 2012, petition by Montejo for a review, COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito upheld the validity of the notices of disallowance.

"The payment of CNA incentive should be a one-time benefit after the end of the year. DOST did not comply with this directive as it made a mid-year payment of CNA incentive. As to the officers of DOST who approved and released the disallowed benefits, this Commission holds that they are solidarily liable for the total disbursements," the COA said. – Rappler.com