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Auditors question Capitol allowances to judges, fiscals

/ 06:42 AM February 09, 2013

A TOTAL of P20.48 million was allotted by the Cebu provincial government for allowances of Court of Appeal justices, judges and court staff, as well as law enforcement agencies.

But are these allowances properly supported with documents? The Commission on Audit thinks otherwise.

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After verifying vouchers for the allowances, state auditors in its 2011 report said they did not see proof of an assignment order which would show that these officials were really assigned in the provincial government, specifically the Office of the Governor.

The grant of allowances through an approval by suspended Gov. Gwen Garcia alone was also not sufficient basis, said the COA.

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The funds were taken from the lump sum appropriation “Non-Office expenditures” which COA believed would need a Provincial Board authority.

For the year 2011, at least 12 local Court of Appeals Justices led by Executive Justice Portia Alino-Hormachuelas, Associate Justices were given around P99,000-P178,000 or P10,000 to P15,000 monthly allowance.

Four clerks of court got P7,000 monthly allowances.

In the same year, 24 Municipal Trial Court judges got a P13,000 monthly allowance from the Capitol. At least 26 Regional Trial Court judges in Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu cities received P13,000 monthly while 36 RTC clerks of court received P5,000 monthly each.

Regional Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane got P12,500 additional incentive allowance while Assistant RSP Vicente Manalac received P10,000 monthly. Resident Prosecutor Naruzen Lorete got between P5,700-P6,200 monthly allowance.

At the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Provincial Prosecutor Pepita Jane Petralba got a monthly allowance of P11,000 from the Capitol. Her 22 assistant provincial prosecutors got P10,000 monthly.

According to the COA, payrolls of these beneficiary officials were not supported by certifications from other provincial, city or municipal accountants where the same benefit could have been paid.

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There is also no certification from regional and provincial prosecutors offices which would determine if the allowance would be less than 50 percent of their salaries as limited by the Department of Justice.

“If not corrected, it may result in irregular disbursement of government funds,” the COA warned.

The documents will required when the COA does an exit conference with the provincial accountant.

Tthe National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also getting allowances from the Capitol. At least 20 agents and other staff from the NBI Central Visayas are getting a P10,000 monthly allowance. Former regional director Edward Villarta got slightly higher allowance at P12,500 monthly.

In the same year, Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano was also receiving P11,000 monthly allowance from the Capitol.

The Philippine National Police assigned in Cebu also gets monthly allowances from the Capitol coffers. PNP regional director Ager Ontog received P12,500 monthly incentive.

Cebu Provincial Police Director Patrocino Comendador Jr. is getting P11,000 a monthl.

Aside from that, 91 other policemen are getting monthly allowances of P2,000 to P5,000pitol./Senior Editor Dale G. Israel

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