PCSO board ordered to reimburse P10-M

by Rhodina Villanueva, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 17 2013 01:05 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2013 09:59 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Audit has ordered the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board of directors to reimburse the government close to P10 million in unauthorized salaries and allowances paid to them in 2011.

COA, in its report on PCSO, noted that the PCSO board was already paid P5.507 million in total per diems for board meetings, committee meetings and draw allowances (fee paid for attending the lottery draw) but still collected an extra P9,617,576.25 representing “salaries; representation, transportation, educational assistance, sweepstakes and lotto draw allowances; revenue performance incentive; rice; COLA; hazard; staple food; bonuses; clothing; and other benefits.”

The board is composed of chairman Margarita Juico, Joaquin Francisco III, Betty Nantes, Ma. Aleta Tolentino and Mabel Mamba.

According to the 2011 report on salaries and allowances of Cabinet secretaries, officials of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and state financial institutions, all five made it to the top 300 highest paid executives with Juico landing at 135th spot with earnings totaling P2,677,318.25.

At 248th and 249th positions are Francisco and Nantes both making P2,006,910.75 while Tolentino (P2,000,910.75) and Mamba (P1,991,910.75) were at 256th and 260th spots, respectively.

Meanwhile, PCSO general manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas III made P3,119,011.75 during the year, making him the 94th highest paid executive.

“Payment of salaries and allowances/benefits totaling P9.617 million to the five PCSO board of directors for CY 2011, in addition to their per diems and differential of per diems, was contrary to Executive Orders 19 and 24 dated Dec. 30, 2010 and Feb. 10, 2011, respectively,” COA said.

EO No. 19 extended the suspension of the grant of allowances, bonuses, incentives and other perks to members of the board of directors, trustees of GOCCs and government financial institutions (GFIs) but allowed reasonable per diems, until Jan. 31, 2011.

EO No. 24, on the other hand, states that the members of the BOD/BOT shall not be allowed to receive salaries, allowance, benefits, and other bonuses unless specifically authorized by law or charter and approved by the President.

“In view of the effectivity of the suspension order and in the absence of approval from the Office of the President to receive the aforesaid compensation and benefits, the disbursements made therefore lacked legal basis, thus, cannot be allowed in audit,” COA said.

Auditors likewise observed that even the authorized per diems “were paid without the necessary supporting documents as evidence that they (board members) actually attended the meetings/draws.”

“Only the acknowledgement receipt of the per diems was attached to the claim. There was no minutes of the meeting and agenda attached,” they said.

The certified list of board meetings prepared by the Office of the Corporate Secretary showed that a total of 47 board meetings were held in 2011 but the total per diems claimed by the board amounted to P177,000 to P195,000/each for 59-65 board meetings, respectively, or an excess of 12 to 18 board meetings.

“We recommended that the BOD refund the salaries and allowances/benefits received for CY 2011 totaling P9.617 million, otherwise the same will be disallowed in audit. We also recommended submission of supporting documents such as list of attendance with signature, minutes of meetings and other documents to prove that the BOD actually attended the meetings and draw proceedings,” COA said.