PVAO denies P70M payments made to dead pensioners

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2019 10:17 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) on Friday clarified the P70.25 million worth of overpayment it made to 5,721 deceased pensioners as observed by the Commission on Audit in its 2018 report.

PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina said no such payments were made because the funds were placed on hold after due communication was made with the banks.

Carolina said the P70 million overpayment cited by COA includes still unrecovered funds from as far back as 2014. These were entered into the accounts of dead pensioners but held by the banks following PVAO's death report/communication.

These will be returned to PVAO pending completion of documentary requirements.

Carolina said COA based its observation on documents submitted by PVAO itself: payrolls, report of death, and report of recovery. He said COA noted that there are names in the payroll that were also listed in the report of death.

The explanation for this, he said, is that the payrolls were made before the deaths were reported to PVAO. The payrolls are made every first week of the month, while actual payouts are on the 3rd week, enough time for PVAO to make the necessary death reports to the banks.

There are various mechanisms for PVAO to check deaths and/or remarriages of its over 180,000 pensioners:
- Monitoring by PVAO Field Service Extension Office, whose main task is to constantly coordinate with local registrar’s offices and veterans organizations)
- Personal appearance of pensioner required by banks every 6 months
- Annual reporting and submission of photo to PVAO with newspaper indicating date of publication
- Quarterly home visits by PhilPost
- Random PVAO visits

State auditors 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).

Carolina said the Department of Budget and Management has allowed PVAO to use the recovered funds for the allowance of new pensioners.

PVAO said it is in the process of obtaining a formal certification from DBM on the arrangement, in compliance with COA's directive.
Carolina added that PVAO is confident that it will recover the remaining balance after all the necessary documentary requirements are received by the banks, foremost of which are the death certificates.