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CoA rejects P16M in DoJ allowances

The Commission on Audit has issued notices of suspension and decried as improper the grant of some P16.2 million in honoraria to officials and employees of the Department of Justice during the term of former Secretary now Sen. Leila M. de Lima.

Among the granted allowances questioned by CoA were those given to prosecutors, prosecutorial, and administrative staff assigned to the Ampatuan Maguindanao Massacre Case.

In its 2016 annual audit examination of the DoJ fiscal status, CoA noted that honoraria granted to DoJ employees from 2014 to 2016 were without proper appropriation, thus, contrary to Section 4 (1) of Presidential Decree 1445 and CoA Circular 2012-003.

CoA said the allowances granted during the term of De Lima were given despite the fact that the work done for various DoJ activities does not fall under the category of “special project.”

“For having noted that the payment of honoraria was violative of Section 4 (1) of PD 1445 and the payment thereof falling under illegal expenditures as illustrated in Annex B of CoA Circular No. 2012-003 dated October 29, 2012, Notices of Suspensions in the aggregate amount of P16,262,074.17 were issued covering payment of honoraria from CYs 2014-2016,” the State audit agency said in its audit observation.

Among the grant of allowances that were questioned were for DoJ employers and officials under the Board of Claims, for prosecutors, prosecutorial, and administrative staff handling the Ampatuan Maguindanao Massacre case, and the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution. (Ben R. Rosario)