• ‘DOJ misused victims’ compensation fund’

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    THE P110.65-million Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not been used for its intended purpose and the unused money has not been remitted to the National Treasury, according to state auditors.

    In a 2013 audit report on the DOJ, the Commission on Audit (COA) said as of December 31, 2013, the VCF had a balance of P110,651,299.57, which was 19 percent higher than the balance of P89,620,007.11 in 2012.

    The auditors said the non-remittance of the money was contrary to Executive Order (EO) 338, which directs government agencies to deposit cash balances to the treasury.

    “Further, the same fund is being continuously utilized for expenses not related to the purpose for which it was established,” they added.

    Under the law, the Board of Claims (BOC) under the DOJ provides compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment or detention and violent crimes.

    Funding comes from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the P5 filing fee in every civil case filed in court, one percent from the net earnings of Philippine Amusement and gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and another one percent from proceeds of sale of military camps in Metro Manila.

    But only P10,000 was used for the purpose of the fund, COA said.

    “The rest of the expenses pertain to the payment of salaries of contractual employees, office supplies, miscellaneous expenses and honoraria of 86 officials and employees [27 from Regional Office and 59 at the DOJ Main office] who are involved in the Victims Compensation Program [VCP],” it added.

    “These expenses appeared not related to the purpose of the program, which is to compensate victims of unjust imprisonment or detention and violent crimes,” COA noted.

    The auditors further pointed out that P2,763,975.00, or almost 35 percent of the fund, was used to pay the honoraria of officials and employees who are not qualified to receive such benefits.

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