MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the regional and provincial offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to pay its former provincial agrarian reform officer in Cagayan P1.16 million worth of salaries and benefits after being wrongfully dismissed.
In a decision dated Dec. 17, 2020, the commission partly granted Francisco Baculi’s P2.41-million petition for money claim for his back pay and other benefits from 1992 to 2003.
COA said the Supreme Court ruling that the decision of the Civil Service Commission affirming the dismissal of Baculi was void and became final and executory on Jan. 31, 2018.
The High Court had stated that the then DAR secretary had no disciplinary jurisdiction over Baculi, who was dismissed due to gross dishonesty, abuse of authority, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
“In the case of money claims based on court decisions, certified true copies of the decisions or orders that would attest to the final and executory character of the money claim are indispensable,” the commission said in the decision signed by Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland Pondoc.
The commission said in the decision that Baculi complied with the submission of pertinent documents from the SC, as well as from the Court of Appeals.
The original claim, however, was reduced because of the revised computation of the audit team leader from the COA, who found out that some of the claims were already paid while others, such as cash gifts, were not in accordance with Department of Budget and Management circulars.
But the COA ruling noted that the decision is subject to the availability of government funds and to the usual accounting and auditing regulations.