COA to Nabcor: Refund P5.5-M illegal perks

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has affirmed its ruling directing the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) to refund the government  P5.5 million (US$124,000) in unlawful "double compensation" and perks to its officials and contractual employees in 2006 and 2007.

In COA's decision dated April 4 but posted on its website only on Monday, April 21, chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan and commissioner Heidi Mendoza denied Nabcor's appeal submitted through Alan Javellana, Nabcor president during the period in question. 

The following disallowances were affirmed by COA:

The last two disallowances were classified as "double compensation." COA said that Nabcor had no clearance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to make such payments.

The unlawful disbursements were taken from three agricultural and livelihood projects in 2006 and 2007:

The COA decision also reversed its earlier order to lift the notices of disallowance against performance bonuses totaling P178,000 (US$4,000) given to Nabcor's contractual employees in 2007.

The commission pointed out that such performance bonuses were also "double compensation," as these contractual personnel were in the regular payroll of the DA and had already received the same benefits from the DA.

"There is no showing that the funds used in payment of the performance bonus came from the savings of Nabcor. On the contrary, the funds were project funds for the implementation of the BFT and ASEAN-IPM projects," said COA.

Nabcor is among the government agencies linked to the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.

It was ordered abolished, along with the Zamboanga del Norte College Rubber Estates Corporation (ZREC) and the Philippine Forest Corporation (Philforest), by President Benigno Aquino III in January 2014. –