MANILA, Philippines - Officials and employees of the Department of Energy (DOE) were found to have received more than P60.3 million in unauthorized yearend financial benefits and subsidies in 2010 and 2011.
The Commission on Audit said Malacañang did not authorize the release of the money for yearend benefits and food and utility subsidy. DOE personnel must refund the P78,000 they each received, the COA said.
Records show that non-DOE employees such as drivers, choir conductors, daycare teachers, police officers, garbage collectors, security guards, and janitors received between P5,000 to P15,000 in bonuses in 2011.
State auditors said the money was sourced from the Special Account in the General Fund (SAGF) 151 to “finance the government’s energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects.”
Record yearend benefits were paid in December 2010 in the total amount of P51,259,000 and P9,109,000 in food and utility subsidy was paid in August 2011.
In a letter dated April 26, 2011, Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson gave COA a number of legal bases, including a Board Resolution and a Department of Budget and Management (DBM) circular, to justify the grant of the benefits.
“This is the reason why the office gave the benefits directly to the employees without coursing it through their respective agencies,” she said.
“Aside from this, equity and humanitarian consideration render these employees deserving of these benefits which, by law and tradition, are granted to government workers every end of the year in line with the spirit of the holiday season.”
However, state auditors said the use of SAGF 151 to pay the yearend benefits and food and utility subsidy is in violation of existing laws and rules, including Executive Order 848 pertaining to the use of the special fund.