The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld a decision of the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowing unauthorized allowances of an official of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).
In a full court ruling dated June 13, 2014 but was released to the media just recently, the SC ruled that the COA was right when it disallowed the allowance worth more than P130,000 allotted to lawyer Salvador Camanian Jr., the Assistant Government Corporate Counsel, when he was designated as in-house counsel of Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD).
The designation was made by then-Government Corporate Counsel (GCC) Agnes Devanadera.
The MCWD Board of Directors issued resolutions in 1996 and 2006, approving the grant of allowances to Camanian.
In 2007, however, COA auditor Deborah Montejo issued Notice of Disallowance on Camanian’s total allowances of P138, 752 for 2005 and 2006.
Montejo ruled that OGCC lawyers “are not entitled to additional compensation/allowances unless they are assigned/designated as corporate officers in concurrent capacity in the agency to which they are assigned and with the approval of the GCC.”
Upon appeal, the disallowance notice was affirmed by the COA Legal Services Sector, prompting Camanian to bring his case to the High Court.
In dismissing Camanian’s petition, the tribunal, through clerk of court Enriqueta Vida, said COA correctly disallowed his allowances, adding that it found “no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the [agency.]”