OGCC lawyers told to return allowances

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THE Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) to return the allowances they received from the National Transmission Commission (Transco) even if they were not designated to do additional tasks in the commission.

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“OGCC lawyers were paid allowances amounting to P1.151 million even if they were not assigned additional or special tasks in TransCo contrary to Section 6 of Executive Order (EO) No. 878,” state auditors said.

Under EO 878, which reorganized the OGCC, any member of the OGCC’s legal staff may be assigned in a concurrent capacity as corporate officer of the government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) being serviced by the OGCC.

They may claim additional compensation under three conditions: the exigency of the service requires, the OGCC approves the assignment or designation and, the OCGG lawyer is assigned or designated to perform additional or special task in any of the client corporation.

“Based on the disbursement vouchers, payments made to OGCC during the year amounting to P1.151 million pertained to representation and travelling expenses of OGCC lawyers,” auditors said.

However, upon review of the supporting documents attached to the disbursement vouchers, auditors found that no travel orders, Certificates of Appearance, Official Receipts and other documents were submitted. Instead, a payroll indicating how much the lawyers should receive each month was presented.

Based on the audit report, lawyers Raoul Creencia, Alda Reyes, Efren Gonzales, Bel Derayuman and Elpidio Vega were each entitled to a net amount of P6,560 while lawyers Aniceto Calubaquib Jr., Isabelita Velena, Christian Dumlao, Marilyn Estaris, Melissa Acorda, Kathrina Maria Reyes, Odilon Diaz, Caron Aicitel Lascano and Belen Salumbides were each entitled to a net amount of P4,920.

“The services rendered by the OGCC lawyers for TransCo were considered their mandated and/or regular functions, and thus they were not entitled to receive additional compensations because the third condition set forth under Section 6 of EO 878 was not met,” auditors said.

TransCo is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) created in 2001 by virtue of Section 8 of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).

It began operations as a functional unit of the National Power Corporation (NPC).

TransCo’s transmission business was privatized through a concession deal entered into with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in 2008 MA.

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