• SC invokes fiscal autonomy

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    COA-proposed accounting procedures rejected
    THE Supreme Court (SC) has turned down proposed accounting proce-dures by the Commission on Audit (COA) for Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) member-agencies.

    Budget and accounting officials of the courts have sought clarifications in relation to the prevailing procedures adopted by the Department of Budget and Management whereby Notices of Cash Allocations (NCAs) lapse at the end of each quarter, and any unexpended cash allocations of the courts revert to the control of the DBM.

    In a full-court ruling promulgated by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the high tribunal found these procedures “inconsistent with the mandate to automatically and regularly release the approved appropriations of the judiciary.”

    The proposed rules state that while the funds remain allocated to the judiciary, their subsequent releases are made subject to requirements and conditions of the Budget department.

    The SC earlier approved procedures and illustrative accounting entries proposed by the COA for use of the SC and the lower courts, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal and the appellate courts (Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals).

    Budget and accounting officials, however,  sought the clarifications on the same, causing the SC to rule again on the same.

    Thus, the High Court declared that “cash allocations to the judiciary, released pursuant to its approved appropriations, may not be allowed to lapse and shall remain under the control and accountability of the respective concerned agencies in the judiciary, subject only to pertinent accounting and auditing rules and regulations[.]”

    The SC also approved the transfer of the unexpended balance of the NCAs prior to its lapsing to the court’s authorized local bank account.

    In disapproving the procedures, the tribunal held that they violate the fiscal autonomy of the judiciary as mandated under Article VIII, Section 3, of the 1987 Constitution.

    The SC authorized the concerned officials of the courts to effect the procedures immediately.

    It also instructed the Chief of the Office of the Fiscal Management and Budget Office and of the Financial Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator  to initiate representations with the DBM and the COA for more streamlined procedures to give effect to the mandate of the Constitution pertaining to the fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

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    2 Comments

    1. Wouldn’t accepting the proposed procedures in effect subject the budget allocated to the judiciary to a DAP type set up where the DBM is pooling funds as savings before the end of the year.

    2. supreme court decision is sometimes hinder the sweeping reforms done by the government agencies who intend to eradicate red tape and other unnecessary technicalities in the procurement process of some govmnt agencies headed by corrupt heads of offices.