Lacson Bill Seeks Allowances for State Auditors

To make sure state auditors will not engage in corruption, a bill has been filed in the Senate seeking to give allowances to the Commission on Audit. 

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson filed Senate Bill 3257 seeking to protect state auditors not only from temptations but also from pressures.

“An effective way to insulate the personnel of the Commission on Audit from unscrupulous individuals is to provide them with monetary incentives commensurate to the mandate of their office. This bill seeks to address this primary concern by granting the employees and officials of the Commission on Audit with special allowances proportionate to their current salary grade. By giving them an additional incentive, the government is thereby recognizing the importance of their profession and the value of their work in safeguarding the general welfare,” Lacson said in his bill.

He noted that during budget deliberations, COA reports are a yardstick for Congress in assessing the budget proposals of the different government agencies or bodies. But Lacson said the confidential aspect of their work makes the employees and officials of the Commission on Audit easy targets of political pressure and influence.

“So much so that if not well-compensated, they might give into temptation and abandon their sworn duty to protect the government coffers,” he said.

Under the bill, the grant of the said special allowance shall not exceed 100 percent of the basic salary, “proportionate to the salary grades of the officials and employees concerned” as provided in the Salary Standardization Law.

The amount needed for the initial implementation of this Act shall be charged against the current fiscal year’s appropriations under the budget of the Commission. Additional funding sources of the amount necessary to implement the additional compensation in the form of special allowances granted under this Act will include:

* Savings generated by the COA in its operations;
* Fees collected by COA in performing audit and related services to government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and local government units (LGUs); services rendered to private entities audited in connection with their dealings with the government arising from subsidies, counterpart funding by the government, or where audited records become the basis for government levy and share; and audit and related services arising from contracts with government entities and international organizations;
* Income sourced through the imposition of filing fees on cases filed before the COA in the exercise of its quasi-judicial function;
* Collection through imposition of fines on administrative cases;
* Income collected through the use of COA facilities such as dormitories, gym and training centers; and
* Income sourced through the conduct of seminars and lectures.

“The amounts collected shall be deposited as a Special Trust Fund which shall be administered by the Chairman of the Commission to carry out the provisions of this Act,” Lacson said.

In case of salary hikes, special allowances to COA officials and employees shall be converted as part of the basic salary.