COA clears regional auditor who lost documents because of 'Yolanda'

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2018 12:41 PM | Updated as of Apr 18 2018 04:42 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Audit has cleared its regional supervising auditor from accountability for lost and damaged documents because of super typhoon Yolanda which caused devastation in Palo, Leyte where the regional office of the commission is located.

The decision of the commission dated December 28. 2017 came after the request of Maria Luz Castillo, the officer-in-charge of Audit Regional Office No. VIII, for relief from accountability was made.

It was established that the typhoon caused the destruction of audit documents, records and reports, which was beyond the control of the employees and officials of the regional office.

“It has been sufficiently established in this case that Super Typhoon Yolanda had in fact occurred on November 8, 2013, causing destruction and loss, among others, to the subject documents. Thus, Article 1174 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which provides that no person shall be responsible for those events, which could not be foreseen, or which though foreseen, were inevitable, is applicable in this case,” the commission said in its decision signed COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito.

The commission also noted the efforts of Castillo and her team in securing the documents in steel cabinets and boxes, which were later on placed in elevated locations, before Yolanda struck.

The COA also said that the caso fortuito or fortuitous event doctrine applies in the case of Castillo.

“Hence, Ms. Castillo should be exempt from liability, there being no showing of participation or negligence on her part that might have occasioned the loss and destruction of the documents under her custody,” the commission said.