MANILA - Some 5,721 deceased pensioners of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) continued to receive their monthly allowance amounting to P70.25 million, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its 2018 report.
"Comparison of the payroll of pensioners and list of reported deaths for CY 2018 disclosed that 5,721 or 84.5 percent out of 6,768 total reported deaths continuously received their regular monthly pensions which ranged from 1 to 64 months, thus resulted in the overpayment amounting to P70,250,300," the report read.
Some 2,545 claims came from deceased veterans, while 3,176 came from their spouses or minor children, COA said.
The agency said P36,454,688.16 has yet to be returned, while P33,795,611.84 has been recovered but has yet to be remitted the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).
This violates Section 10 of the 2018 General Appropriations Act, which says unused funds from state agencies must be returned to the general fund, state auditors said.
PVAO, meantime, explained to the COA that the cash will be used for payment of accrued pensions or pensions due to other pensioners and said it has the authority to use these funds from Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
COA, however, said that upon verification with the DBM, the budget department issued the authority in fiscal year 2015 and could not be applied in 2018.
State auditors recommended that PVAO immediately remit the recovered amount of P33,795,611.84 to the BTr and hold liable officials and employees who are involved in the process of pension benefits.
COA, meanwhile, noted that the period for the continued payment of pension to deceased veterans has decreased to 1 to 65 months compared with 1 to 132 months in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.
"The decrease was due to additional enhancement in their systems to gradually lessen if not eliminate defects in the system such as continuous payment of pension to deceased pensioners," it said.