Plunder of PNCC Gratuity Fund (6)
WHAT FURTHER struck out most anent the PNCC gratuity benefit – aside from its NOT having legal basis – is that while it is supposed to be given upon separation from service, it was granted in the form of CASH ADVANCE, chargeable against the beneficiary’s retrenchment pay.
This is a big ‘NO-NO’ and contravenes audit rules, says the COA.
It is, of course, not difficult to see COA’s point. For, how can a cash advance be liquidated if the beneficiary is, in the meantime, TERMINATED for cause and not entitled to, or forfeits, separation benefits? Or, when he is NOT a PNCC em-ployee, like a member of its
Board of Directors?
It has to be stressed that the total amount of the plundered gratuity benefit – P101,500,475.21 – claimed by the members of The Board in staggered basis was for the period CY 2007 to CY 2010 only.
Methodical ‘slashing’ from this account/fund in previous years was not audited by COA because the previous PNCC Administration REFUSED to furnish COA with the necessary disbursement vouchers and other supporting documents.
In so doing, the former PNCC Administration insisted that the PNCC Retirement Trust Fund is not subject to COA audit – despite its familiarity with pertinent OGCC (Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) Opinion No. 207, series of 1996 (7/31/96), which expressly provides, thus:
“ (a) PNCC falls within the ambit of COA’s functional authority and regulatory responsibility; and (b) PNCC may enjoy operational flexibility provided its transactions are not irregular, unnecessary, and unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties. It may adopt its own accounting and auditing rules and regulations as long as they are consistent with the appropriate and applicable guidelines of COA.”
COA also discovered another carefully-hatched manipulative act by This Board and previous PNCC Management relative to subject gratuity benefit, thus : the Subsidiary Ledger of this gratuity account maintained at the Philippine National Bank (“PNB”) under PNB Account
No. 0520 revealed that this account is the one used for deposits of toll collections repre-senting income of PNCC. (TO BE CONTINUED)