State auditors have ordered the Rizal Technological University (RTU) to require its officials and employees to refund the “unauthorized” Remunerative Incentives (RI) that they received from 2012 to 2014 totaling P99.34 million.
The recommendation was made in the 2014 audit report by the Commission on Audit (COA).
“The grant of unauthorized RI to its officials and employees, including members of the Board of Regents in CY [calendar year]2014 totaling P20.15 million charged against Special Trust Fund (STF) despite prior years’ audit recommendation to stop the granting thereof resulted in audit disallowances totaling P99.34 million covering CYs 2012-2014,” the auditors said.
COA cited Section 4 (d) of Republic Act (RA) 8292 or the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997 which provides that state universities or colleges shall retain any income generated from tuition fees and other charges and from the operation of auxiliary services, and these may be disbursed by the Board of Regents/Trustees (BOR/T) for instruction, research, extension, or other programs or projects of the university or college.
The same law provides that school fees and charges, government subsidies and other income generated by state universities or colleges shall constitute special trust funds.
COA also cited Section 3 of the same Act which provides that members of the governing boards of state universities or colleges shall serve without compensation but that they shall be reimbursed for necessary expense incurred in their attendance of board meetings or in connection with their official business authorities by board resolution.
“Audit disclosed that RTU did not stop the granting of RIs charged against STF to its regular officials and employees, and contractual employees, as well as the members of the BOR [Board of Regents] despite our previous years’ AOM [Audit Observation Memorandum] No. RTU 2013-001 (2012) and AOM No. RTU 2014-007 (2013) issued to them,” the auditors said.
“The incentives were granted during the months of January, March and May for CY 2014 of which payments totaling P20,148,000 were recorded in Other Maintenance and Operating Expenses and Other Personnel Benefits accounts. Hence from CY 2012 to 2014, the incentives paid have accumulated to P99,335,625,” they said.
Based on the audit report, P20.148 million were paid in 2014; P39,486,750 in 2013, and; P39,700,875 in 2012.
The audit team issued a Notice of Suspension dated January 23, 2015 totaling P77,637,625 representing the incentives given in 2012 and 2013.
Under the 2009 Revised Rules of Procedure of COA, the auditor may issue Notices of Suspension for transactions of doubtful legality, validity, or propriety to obtain further explanation or documentation.
“The grant of incentives to all officials and employees of RTU is considered outside of the powers of BOR/T as embodied in RA No. 8292 and contrary to Joint Resolution No. 4 s. 2009 of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as not in accordance with CSC [Civil Service Commission] Resolution No. 010112. On this basis, the Audit Team will issue the corresponding Notice of Disallowance for the total incentives paid since CY 2012,” COA said.
CSC Resolution No. 010112 provides Incentive Awards System as prescribed under CSC Memorandum Circular No. 48 series of 1992.
“On the other hand, the Joint Resolution No. 4 s. 2009 of the Senate and the House of the Representatives…provides, among others, that the coverage, conditions for the grant, including the rates of allowances, benefits and incentives to all government employees, shall be rationalized in accordance with the policies to be issued by the President upon recommendation of the DBM,” the auditors said.
The commission said the university should stop giving out incentives without legal basis and documents supporting entitlement to monetary awards and to “require all officials and employees to refund the unauthorized RI received totaling P99.34 million covering CYs 2012-2014.”