COA to MWSS: Return bonuses
The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to return P73 million spent on bonuses and fringe benefits for the year 2009.
In a recently-released eight-page decision, COA affirmed two separate decisions by the Corporate Government Sector Cluster B to disallow the amounts in 2010.
Because of this, all employees who received the disallowed allowances and benefits were held liable and ordered to refund the amounts.
Disallowed paid leave credits will revert to the accrued leave credits of the employees after the amounts are refunded.
The COA said the MWSS board of trustees’ authority to grant allowances and benefits had been modified, if not repealed, by Republic Act No. 6758, or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
The salary standardization law rendered ineffective the MWSS’ authority to grant certain incentives, the COA said.
The midyear and yearend financial assistance and the corporate Christmas package, amounting to P23.12 million, was found to be contrary to the Section 7 Department of Budget and Management Budget Circular No. 2005-6 which prohibits the payment of additional benefits unless approved by the President.
The COA also found the monetized leave credits, totaling P1.18 million, to have exceeded the 30-day maximum limits without justification.
The family day and week allowances and the scholarship allowance totaling P18.84 million were also disallowed, because they were already deemed integrated into the standardized salary rates.
The other payments were also found to be in violation of the MWSS’ own charter.
The COA said there was an “absence of good faith” on the part of those who approved and received the benefits and allowances. It also noted that similar disallowances had already been made in 2000.
“The payees are under obligation to reimburse the amount they received, as although they committed no fraud in obtaining these benefits, it is against equity and good conscience for them to continue holding on to them,” the decision read.
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