Commission on Audit

COA flags P25M unauthorized allowances of Napolcom officials, staff

Jairo Bolledo

Rappler.com

The COA says the allowances were continuously granted despite prior years’ recommendation to stop it

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the National Police Commission (Napolcom) for granting “without legal basis” over P25 million of allowances and benefits to its officers and employees in 2020.

In its 2020 Annual Audit Report, the COA said the Napolcom allocated these “unauthorized allowances” despite a recommendation in the previous year to stop this distribution. With this, the COA said, Napolcom completely disregarded the existing laws and regulations. 

Napolcom is the agency which oversees the national police.

“Various allowances and benefits totaling ₱25,002,128.09 without legal basis were continuously granted to Napolcom officers and employees including the Contract of Service (COS) or Job Order (JO) personnel despite prior years’ recommendation to stop the grant of the same; hence, complete disregard of the existing laws and regulations,” the COA report said.

Under the Presidential Decree 1445, Section 1: “No money shall be paid out of any public treasury or depository except in pursuance of an appropriation law or other specific statutory authority.”

The COA recommended the Napolcom the return of the allowances.

“We recommended that (Napolcom) Management require the concerned officials and employees to refund the unauthorized allowances and benefits amounting to ₱25,002,128.09,” the COA said.

The allowances Napolcom distributed were classified into four types: health emergency assistance, dietary supplement allowance, and other benefits and allowances. The allowances of contract of service (COS) and job order (JO) personnel were also included. 

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The Napolcom central office received the highest allocation for allowances amounting to P6,840,000. The amount was allocated for health emergency assistance, according to the auditing body. 

Meanwhile, the Napolcom Western Visayas distributed a total of P4,972,066.68 to its officers and staff for dietary supplement allowance and other benefits. The Napolcom Eastern Visayas gave out a total of P3,287,339.41 for health emergency assistance. 

On January 20, 2020, the COA had flagged the Napolcom for over five million of allowances distributed in 2019. In its Consolidated Annual Audit Reports (CAAR) and Notices of Disallowance Nos. 20-010-101 (2019) and 20-011-101 (2019), the state audit body recommended the Napolcom to stop distributing the said allowances. 

The COA added that continuous distribution of illegal funds was based on the orders of the Napolcom Central Office (CO).

“Inquiry from the Chief, Budget and AS disclosed that the continued granting of these allowances for CY 2020 was upon the order from CO and funds were subsequently released for the purpose,” the audit body said in its report.

In a reply to the COA, the Napolcom central office said the distribution of the said allowances was supported by a presidential decree.

“Payment of Public Health Emergency Assistance (PHEA) to the personnel of Napolcom Central Office was supported and covered by a presidential issuance, particularly Presidential Proclamation No. 922 s. 2020,” the Napolcom said.

However, according to the COA, the said presidential decree did not grant the issuance of benefits and allowances.

“Presidential Proclamation No. 922 s. 2020 was issued to facilitate the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 to address the COVID-19 threat. It must be noted that RA No. 11332 did not provide specifically the grant of PHEA; thus, the grant of the same was construed to be illegal for lacking the necessary statutory basis,” the COA said. – Rappler.com

P1 = $43.09

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.