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October 21, 1997

COA DECISION NO. 1997-637

RE : Appeal of Atty. Oscar I. Garcia, Government Corporate Counsel, from the Disallowance
in the Total Amount of P88,000 Representing Additional Compensation Given to
Lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) Assigned at the
Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)

DECISION

Records disclose that a monthly reimbursable representation and transportation allowance (RATA) was paid
to lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) assigned at the Philippine Retirement
Authority (PRA). Upon post-audit, the then Corporate Auditor issued various Certificates of Settlement and
Balances (CSBs) where he disallowed the reimbursable RATA granted to said lawyers, in the amount of
P88,000.
Aggrieved by the decision of the Auditor, the Government Corporate Counsel requested reconsideration
thereof in a letter dated July 15, 1996, contending among others, that this Commission in its Decision dated
February 1, 1994, has ruled that Executive Order No. 878, particularly Section 6 thereof authorized OGCC
lawyers to receive additional compensation subject to such limitations provided by said law.
The newly assigned Corporate Auditor in his memorandum for the Director, Corporate Audit Office I, this
Commission, dated February 17, 1997 recommended the lifting of the disallowance subject to the
requirement of COA Circular No. 85-25E. Accordingly, the latter office, in its Memorandum dated May 29,
1997 to the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Philippine Retirement Authority, sought
clarification on the true nature of the allowances. The PRA responded that the amounts paid to OGCC
lawyers assigned thereat partake of the nature of honoraria or incentive pay allowed under COA Decisions
94-040 and 96-362, dated February 1, 1994 and July 16, 1996, respectively.
In the above-mentioned COA Decisions, three (3) conditions must be satisfied for the grant of additional
allowances, thus:
"1. When the exigency of the service so requires;
2. That OGCC approve the assignment or designation; and
3. That OGCC lawyers are assigned/designated to perform additional or special task in any of the
client corporations."
After a careful evaluation of the facts and circumstances in the herein case, this Commission finds merit in
the appellant's request, in view of the clarification of the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, PRA,
that the additional compensation paid to OGCC lawyers are really in the nature of honoraria paid after
satisfying the conditions set forth in Section 6 of E.O. No. 878. However, such honoraria or allowances in the
totality shall not exceed 50% of the individual regular annual salaries of the lawyers as provided under COA
Circular No. 85-25E, dated April 25, 1985, and that the same shall be remitted directly to their mother
agency, the OGCC, for monitoring purposes.
Premises considered, the within appeal is hereby granted and the disallowance is lifted.

(SGD.) CELSO D. GAÑGAN


Chairman

(SGD.) SOFRONIO B. URSAL


Commissioner

(SGD.) RAUL C. FLORES


Commissioner

Copy furnished:

The Chief Executive Officer


Phil. Retirement Authority
Makati City

The Government Corporate Counsel


Makati City

The Auditor
PRA
PRA
Makati City

The Director
CAO I
This Commission