Solon seeks to ban agency-funded allowances for COA personnel
In a bid to preserve the independence of the Commission on Audit (COA), a lawmaker wants to prohibit agencies from offering additional allowances to COA personnel assigned to their offices.
Agusan del Norte Representative Eripe John Amante has filed House Bill no. 5352 or the “Anti-Patronage in State Auditing Act of 2015.”
The proposed bill seeks to prohibit “government entities including government-owned or controlled corporations and the local government units, to allocate funds for the additional compensation, allowances, honoraria, bonuses or other emoluments to the officials and personnel of the Commission on Audit (COA) stationed or assigned in their respective offices thereby strengthening the independence, morality and integrity of the Commission on Audit and for other purposes.”
The lawmaker said it will prevent the possibility of COA auditors being influenced “by their benefactor” agencies of local government units.
Amante pointed out that Republic Act no. 6758 or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 already prohibits the giving of allowances but the Local Government Code of 1991 “created confusion.” Some interpreted the code to have repealed Section 18 of RA 6758, which states:
“In order to preserve the independence and integrity of the Commission on Audit (COA), its officials and employees are prohibited from receiving salaries, honoraria, bonuses, allowances or other emoluments from any government entity, local government unit, and government-owned and controlled corporations, and government financial institution, except those compensation paid directly be the COA out of its appropriations and contributions.”
Amante said that in an earlier case, Villarama Vs. COA, GR No. 145383-84 dated August 6, 2003, the Supreme Court said the inconsistency of the two laws should be reconciled.
“Though there are existing ruling of the High Court and memorandum orders from the COA regarding this matter, there are still LGUs and resident COA Auditors who are continuing this practice,” he added.
If enacted into law, violators could face imprisonment of six months and one day to twelve years and disqualification from public office. The COA personnel will also be required to refund the additional compensation received.
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