COA orders SSS execs to return over P71M in excessive benefits
The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered high-ranking officials of the Social Security System to return over P71 million in excessive benefits granted to employees of its National Capital Region branches in 2010.
The benefits — consisting of increased overtime pay, special counsel allowance, incentive awards, rice subsidy and medical benefits — were disallowed for exceeding the corporate operating budget approved by the Department of Budget and Management.
As a result, these were deemed “irregular payments” under COA Circular No. 85-55A.
But the COA clarified, in a five-page decision made public only recently, that it would no longer require ordinary employees to refund the disallowed benefits because they were passive recipients in good faith.
Instead, it ordered the issuance of a supplemental notice of disallowance that would hold the unnamed members of the SSS Board of Trustees liable for returning the amount.
This would be on top of 11 high-ranking officials already named in the June 13, 2012 notice of disallowance that first demanded the return of the excessive benefits.
They were Commissioners Thelmo Cunanan, Marianito Roque, Jose Sonny Matula, Victorino Balais, Donald Dee, Marianita Mendoza, Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. and Fe Palileo; Relationship Management Department officer in charge Marissa Tizon and section head Joselito delos Reyes; and General Accounting Department assistant vice-president Amelita dela Torre.
The 2012 notice was previously affirmed by the COA Corporate Government Sector–Cluster 2 on Nov. 5, 2013, and the three commissioners sitting as the COA proper on Apr. 1, 2015.