SC orders Monetary Board to stop giving ex-officio members allowances
MANILA — The Supreme Court has enjoined the Monetary Board (MB), the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), from providing additional allowances to its ex-officio members.
Voting 13-0, the high court unanimously affirmed the legality of the orders issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) questioning the extra financial benefits given to Peter Favila and National Economic and Development Authority chief Romulo Neri from 2007 to 2009.
“In disallowing the (additional benefits), COA did not abuse the exercise of its discretion as its denial was grounded on the law, facts and circumstances that would warrant such disallowance,” the tribunal said in a 10-page decision.
“Absent any showing that COA capriciously, arbitrarily or whimsically exercised its discretion that would be tantamount to evasion of a positive duty… the court finds no reason to set aside its decision,” it said in its June 6 ruling, a copy of which was made public last week.
Associate Justice Noel Tijam, who was appointed by President Duterte on March 8, wrote the decision, which was concurred in by all the justices who participated in the deliberations.
Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Jose Mendoza did not vote on the issue since they were both on leave.
In junking the certiorari petition filed by BSP officials led by its former governor, Amando Tetangco Jr., the court said the central bank officers could not claim that they acted in good faith as they were made aware of existing laws and COA policies prohibiting double compensation for government officials.
It said the BSP officials’ disregard of such rules “cannot be deemed as a mere lapse consistent with the presumption of good faith.”
Said the court: “In the absence of grave abuse of discretion, the factual findings of the COA, which are undoubtedly supported by the evidence on record, must be accorded great respect and finality.”
Besides, the court said COA “has acquired special knowledge and expertise in handling matters falling under its specialized jurisdiction.” SFM
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