MANILA - The Supreme Court has reversed the rulings of the Commission on Audit that denied the payment claims of a landscaper that did beautification projects for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Summit in Manila in 2005.
The Department of Public Works and Highways had commissioned Mario Geronimo and his company Kabukiran Garden for landscaping projects in Ayala Boulevard, Padre Burgos Street, Roxas Boulevard, Osmeña Highway, and other center islands of main thoroughfares in Metro Manila, the SC said in a statement released Sunday.
DPWH officials, through mere verbal request and without any written contract purportedly due to time constraints, requested Geronimo to complete the projects with the assurance that he would be paid in full, the court said.
When the agency failed to eventually pay him despite several demands, he filed his claim before the COA.
The commission in 2014 recognized that DPWH’s liability in favor of Geronimo exists, but still denied his claim due to lack of supporting documents that would substantiate the projects' accomplishment and cost.
Geronimo's motion for reconsideration was denied in 2015.
The court en banc, in a 12-page decision penned by Justice Jose Reyes, Jr., ordered the COA to allow on a "quantum meruit" or "as much as deserved" basis the total compensation due Geronimo and his company.
The Supreme Court said that while ordinarily a written contract and certification showing availability of funds are among the requirements for government projects, the absence of these documents "would not necessarily preclude the contractor from receiving payment for the services he or she has rendered for the government."
The high court also held that the COA gravely abused its discretion when it denied Geronimo’s claim despite his obvious and recognized entitlement thereto.