The P45-million year-end bonus given to Capitol employees has legal basis and that a letter of reconsideration was filed with the Commission on Audit (COA), said a Batangas provincial govern- ment spokesman.
Batangas provincial Legal Officer Atty. Joel Montealto, speaking in behalf of Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, was referring to the state auditors’ order to refund the P45.352 million worth of bonuses paid out to Batangas provincial officials and employees in 2014.
The COA said the move was a violation of COA Circular No. 2013-003, which prohibits the payment of unauthorized allowances, incentives and other benefits except those expressly provided by law.
Montealto said that aside from the Local Government Code, the other legal bases are a circular issued by the Department of Budget Management and a joint resolution passed by the House of Representatives and Senate affirming the power of local government units (LGU) to determine salaries, wages, allowances, bonus and incentives.
He added that the source of funds came from the savings of the provincial government and they saw it fit and proper to recognize the work turned in by all Capitol employees by giving them incentives to enhance their performance.
“President Aquino issued Executive Order 181 dated May 15, 2015 recognizing the authority of LGU to provide such incentives,” Montealto added.
He added that while the provincial government respects the COA regional office position, they are hopeful the agency will hear their side and grant their request.