The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) granted fringe benefits totaling P43.82 million to its employees for 2013 and 2014 without authority from the Office of the President, according to state auditors.
This prompted the auditors to tell the PRC to require the payees or claimants to refund the sum they received as fringe benefits.
In a 2014 audit report by the Commission on Audit (COA), the state auditors said, “The [PRC] granted fringe benefits to the PRC employees, contractual and service contractors totaling P43,821,479.60 for CY [Calendar Year] 2013 and 2014 with no written authority from the Office of the President which is in violation of RA [Republic Act] 6758 and COA Circular No. 2013-03.”
RA 6758 is the Salary Standardization Law while COA Circular No. 2013-03 provides a list of allowances and benefits generally applicable to agencies that are covered by the standardization law.
“The fringe benefits that the PRC granted to its officials and employees, contractual and service contractors were not included in the enumerated allowances and benefits covered by RA 6758 and COA Circular No. 2013-03,” the auditors said.
“The same benefit is not specified as to what kind but just merely fringe benefits,” they added.
According to the audit report, funding that was used for the payment of the benefits was from savings of the general services and honorarium of members of the Professional Regulatory Board.
The auditors said they have issued a notice of disallowance dated January 30, 2015.
A notice of disallowance informs those concerned of their participation in transactions disapproved in audit and that they have to refund the amount indicated in the notice.
“We recommended that management require the payees/claimants to refund the amount received as fringe benefits amounting to P43,821,479.60 which is not in accordance with RA 6758 and COA Circular No. 2013-03 dated January 30, 2013. Thereafter, management should refrain from giving fringe benefits without any authority issued thereon,” the auditors said.
The PRC commented that its Legal Office was already preparing for an appeal on the notice of disallowance to the COA Central Office-Cluster V.