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COMMISSION ON AUDIT

Guevarra v Gimenez 6 SCRA 813

FACTS:
In 1954, the District Engineer of Sorsogon prepared a program of work and detailed estimate for the
reconstruction of the Sorsogon Central School building. Specifications consisting of five pages were likewise
prepared. The Cost of painting was left out in the detailed estimate and specifications. The papers were
submitted to the Division Engineer in Lucena, Quezon, who returned them duly approved with an authorized
appropriation of P40,000.00 "provided that painting shall be included". Whereupon, the specification for
painting was accordingly made and appended to the specifications as page six.
In August 1954 the District Engineer advertised an invitation to bid for furnishing of all materials, labor
and plant, for reconstruction project. Fernando Guevarra's bid of P37,500 was declared lowest and the contract
was awarded to him. Eighty five days after completion of the project, Guevarra file with the Director of Public
Works a written claim for the payment of P4,620.00 representing cost of painting not covered by the contract.
After hearing, Secretary of Public Works and Communications denied the claim and two motion for
reconsideration were also denied. On appeal,the Auditor General also denied the claim. Guevarra appealed to
the Supreme Court pursuant to CA 327.

ISSUE:
Whether the contract for the reconstruction of the school building included the painting.

HELD:
Yes. Testimonies of the employees' should be given more weight than those of the contractors. These
government employees testified as to what transpired in the performance of their duties. The presumption is that
official duty has been regularly performed.
[Note:The main issue of the case has nothing to do with COA. However, note that, claims and
disbursements of public funds should have be coursed to COA]

Orocio v COA 213 SCRA 109

FACTS:
On accident occurred at the Malaya Power Plant of the National Power Corporation (NPC) where two
individuals suffered injury Ernesto Pumaloy, an NPC employee, and Domingo Abodizo, a casual employee
OPLGS, the janitorial contractor of the NPC. The two injured personnel were brought to the hospital.
NPC initially advanced the amount for hospitalization expenses for the treatment of Abodizo, and set up
this as an account receivable from OPLGS deducted on a staggared basis from the latter's billing against the
NPC util the same was fully satisfied. Subsequently, OPLGS requested a refund of the total amount deducted
from their billings representing payment of the advances made by the NPC. In the light of the favorable
recommendation of the NPC legal counsel, the amount of hospitalization expenses was refunded to the
contractor OPLGS.
The Unit Auditor of the Commission on Audit disallowed the refund of the hospitalizattion expenses of
Abodizo contending that under the contract, there is no employee-employer relation between the NPC and the
OPLGS employees. Hence,NPC is not answerable for such expenses. General Counsel asked for a
reconsideration of the said disallowance denied. The COA Regional Director, herein respondent, confirmed the
disallowance. NPC General Counself submitted a second request for reconsideration and justifies that his legal
opinion is based on Sec 15-A of RA 6395 (NPC Charter) which provides that ... all legal matters shall be
handled by the General Counsel of the Corporation...

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


ISSUE:
Whether the disbursement on the basis of the legal opinion of the legal counsel of the NPC (quasi-
judicial function) is within the scope of the auditing power of the COA?

HELD:
The Constitution grants the COA the power, authority and duty to examine, audit and settle all accounts
pertaining to the expenditures or uses of funds and property pertaining to the Government or any of its
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations. The
matter of allowing in audit a disbursement account is not a ministerial function, but one which necessitates the
exercise of discretion. Besides, the OPLGS, Abodizo's employer, admitted that the incident was purely
accidental and that there is no showing whatsoever in the accident report of any negligence on the part of the
NPC or its employees.
The NPC, as a government-owned corporation, is under the COA's audit power. The COA should not be
bound by the opinion of the legal counself of said agency or instrumentality which may have been the basis for
the questioned disbursements, otherwise it would become a toothless tiger and its auditing functions would be a
meaningless and futile exercise.

Osmena v COA 238 SCRA 363

FACTS:
Reynaldo de la Cerna was stabbed and was rushed to Cebu City Medical Center but died in the same day
due to severe loss of blood. His parents claimed that Reynaldo would not have died were it not for the
ineptitude, gross negligence, irresponsibility, stupidity and incompetence of the medical staff of the Medical
Center. The parents subsequently instituted in the RTC an action for recovery of damages which the City of
Cebu was impleaded as defendant on the theory that as employer of the alleged negligent doctors, it is
vicariously responsible for the latters' negligence.
To put an end to the controversy, a compromise agreement was entered into by the plaintiffs and
defendant City of Cebu for the payment of the sum of P30,000. The agreement was ratified by the Sangguniang
Panglungsod of the City and authorized the City Budget Officer of Cebu to include in Supplemental Budget No.
6 of the Ciy for the year 1989 the amount of P30,000 for financial assistance to the parents of the late Reynaldo
de la Cerna.
However, the respondent COA disallowed the financial assistance granted to the spouses de la Cerna
holding that it is not within the power of the Sangguniang to provide financial assistance, either on general
welfare clause or humanitarian grounds, to promote economic and private interests of certain individual only.
Respondent further stressed that not being a party to the compromise agreement, it was not bound by it and that
any money claim arising therefrom was subjected to its usual audit in the pursuance of the valid exercis and
discharge of its constitutional power, authority and duty. The City of Cebu filed a Motion for Reconsideraton
but was denied.
Hence this instant petition.

ISSUE:
Whether COA committed grave abuse of discretion in disallowing the city's appropriaton of P30,000
made conformably with the compromise agreement in the civil suit against the City?

HELD:
YES. There can be no question of COA's competence to act on the supplemental budget for 1989 of the
City of Cebu. It appears that respondent COA greivously misconstrued the undertaking of Cebu City to pay
P30,000 to the heirs of the deceased Reynaldo de la Cerna. It was construed as intended only to promote the

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


private welfare and interest of the de la Cerna family. The respondent is well aware that the appropriation was a
part of the package agreed upon by all parties in a civil case for the amicable settlement of the controversy.
Judicial compromise is conclusive and binding on all the parties.

Sambeli v Province of Isabela 210 SCRA 80

FACTS:
An agreement was entered into by and between the City of Isabela and ECS Enterprise for the purchase
of 300 units of wheelbarrows, 837 pieces of shovels, and 1 set of radio communication equipment. Based on the
finding of the Price Evaluation Division COA Technical Services Office, the Provincial Auditor advised the
Provincial Treasurer that an overpriced in the total amount of P619,042.20 exists out of the total price of
P761,077.20 offered by ECS Enterprises or an overpayment of P195,893.10. It recommended that the future
claim of ECS Enterprises be withheld. Provincial Auditor formally forwarded the matter with the Regional
Director who formally endorsed the stand. ECS appealed the decision but was denied for lack of merit.
Hence this instant petition. Petitioner assails the ruling of the COA as not valid. It contends that the
contract of sale has not only been perfected between the Province of Isabela and petitioner but delivery has been
made by it with the corresponding partial payment by the Province of Isabela. Thus, it is allegedly incumbent
upon COA to authorize the payment of the balance because to act otherwise will constitute an impairment of
contract.

ISSUE:
Whether the ruling of COA is invalid so far as it will constitute impairment of contracts?

HELD:
In the exercises of the regulatory power vested upon it by the Constitution, the Commission on Audit
adheres to the policy that government funds and property should be fully protected and conserved and that
irregular, unnecessary, excessive or extravagant expenditures or uses of such funds and property should be
prevented. On the proposition that improper or wasteful spending of public funds or immoral use of government
property, for being highly irregular or unnecessary, or scandalously excessive or extravagant, offends the
sovereign people's will, it behooves the Commission on Audit to put a stop thereto.
. . . No less than the Constitution has ordained that the COA shall have exclusive authority to define the
scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate
accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of
irregular, unnecessary excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures or use of government funds
and properties. (Art. IX D, Sec. 2 (2) 1987 Constitution of the Philippines)

Bustamante v COA 216 SCRA 134

FACTS:
Petitioner is the Regional Legal Counsel of National Power Corporation (NPC). As such he was issued a
government vehicle with plate number SCC 387. Pursuant to NPC policy as reflected in the Board Resolution
No. 81-95 authorizing the monthly disbursement of transportation allowance, the petitioner, in addition to the
use of government vehicle, claimed his transportation allowance for the month of January 1989. On May 31,
1990, the petitioner received an Auditor's Notice to Person Liable dated April 17, 1990 from respondent
Regional Auditor Martha Roxana Caburian disallowing P1,250.00 representing aforesaid transportation
allowance. The petitioner moved for reconsideration of the disallowance of the claim for transportation
allowance which was denied.

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


Petitioner appealed this denial to the Commission on Audit which denied do due course. Hence this
petition.
The petitioner takes exception from the coverage of said circular contending that such circular did not
mention the NPC as one of the corporations/offices covered by it ( COA Circular No. 75-6)

ISSUE:
Whether such denial to give due course to the appeal of herein petitioner constitutes grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction?
Whether NPC takes an exception from such coverage of the said circular contending that such circular
did not mention NPC as one of the corporations/offices covered by it.

HELD:
NO. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or in other words where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion
of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
NO. It is very patent that the circular is addressed, among others, to managing heads of Government-
owned or Controlled Corporations, the NPC being held under such category of corporations. We likewise
cannot sustain petitioner's contention that the Commission, in the exercise of its power granted by the
Constitution, usurped the statutory functions of the NPC Board of Directors for its leads to the absurd
conclusion that a mere Board of Directors of a government-owned and controlled corporation, by issuing a
resolution, can put to naught a constitutional provision which has been ratified by the majority of the Filipino
people. If We will not sustain the Commission's power and duty to examine, audit and settle accounts pertaining
to this particular expenditures or use of funds and property, owned or held in trust by this government-owned
and controlled corporation, the NPC, We will be rendering inutile this Constitutional Body which has been
tasked to be vigilant and conscientious in safeguarding the proper use of the government's, and ultimately, the
people's property.

Saligumba v COA 117 SCRA 669

FACTS:
On the basis of the sworn complaint of Editha Saligumba, the COA instituted the administrative case
against Leonardo Estella, Auditing Examiner III, in the Auditor's Office of Misamis Occidental. The charge was
that the respondent raped Editha Saligumba on several occasions. For insufficiency of evidence, the charge was
dropped by COA.
Saligumba now wants the Supreme Court of review the COA decision. She insists that the decision of
the COA is contrary to the evidence and the same time raises factual issues.

ISSUE:
Whether the action will prosper?

HELD:
The petition has to be dismissed for the following reasons:
1. Our power to review COA decisions refers to money matters and not to administrative cases involving
the discipline of its personnel.

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


2. Even assuming that We have jurisdiction to review decisions on administrative matters as mentioned
above, We can not do so on factual issues; Our power to review is limited to legal issues.

Rebecca Barbo v Commission on Audit (October 10, 2008)

FACTS:
Petitioners are officials of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and designated members of
the Interim Board of Directors of the San Fernando Water District (SFWD).
On December 4, 1995 and February 12 1996, the LWUA Board of Trustees issued Board Resolution No.
313, Series of 1995 and Board Resolution No. 39, Series of 1996 respectively. These Board Resolutions
authorized the Board of Directors of SFWD to receive reimbursable allowances in the form of Representation
and Transportation Allowance (RATA), Travel Allowance, and Extraordinary & Miscellaneous Expense (EME);
Christmas Bonus; Uniform Allowance; Rice Allowance; Medical and Dental Benefits; and Productivity
Incentive Bonus.
Pursuant to the said Board Resolutions, petitioners received EME, Rice Allowance, Christmas Bonus,
and Productivity Bonus from SFWD during the calendar years starting 1994 until 1996.
On June 30, 1997, a Special Audit Team of COA Regional Office No. III at San Fernando, Pampanga
audited the financial accounts of SFWD for the period covering January 1, 1994 to July 15, 1996. The COA
Special Audit Team disallowed the payment of the above-mentioned benefits and allowances received by
petitioners after the same were found to be excessive and contrary to Sections 228, 162 and 163 of the
Government Accounting and Auditing Manual (GAAM) and to Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution
No. 954073 in relation to Section 13 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of
1973) as amended. Petitioner were directed to refund the benefits and allowances subject to the disallowance.
Petitioners contend that the COA lacks jurisdiction to declare whether or not LWUA Board Resolution
Nos. 313 and 39 are consistent with Section 13 of PD No. 198, as amended, on matters pertaining to the
compensation and "other benefits" of the Directors of the LWD. This is allegedly the function of the courts.
The Regional Director affirmed the disallowance. Petitioners elevated the matter to COA. COA declared
that the subject bonuses and allowances received by petitioners constituted additional compensation or
remuneration. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence this instant petition.

ISSUE:
1. Whether respondent has the jurisdiction to motu proprio declare LWUA Board Resolution No. 313, S.
1995, as amended by Resolution No. 39, S. 1996, to bbe totally in conflict with Sec. 13 of PD No. 198
as amended.
2. Whether Sec 13, PD 198, as amended, prohibiting petitioners' entitlement to RATA, EME, Bonuses and
Other Benefits and Allowances.

HELD:
The Court has already settled this issue in a myriad of cases. Particularly, in Rodolfo S. de Jesus
[Catbalogan Water District] v. COA, the Court upheld the authority and jurisdiction of the COA to rule on the
legality of the disbursement of government funds by a water district and declared that such power does not
conflict with the jurisdiction of the courts, the DBM, and the LWUA. Citing Section 2, Subdivision D, Article
IX of the 1987 Constitution the Court declared that it is the mandate of the COA to audit all government
agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters. Indeed, the
Constitution specifically vests in the COA the authority to determine whether government entities comply with
laws and regulations in disbursing government funds, and to disallow illegal or irregular disbursements of
government funds. This independent constitutional body is tasked to be vigilant and conscientious in
safeguarding the proper use of the government's, and ultimately the people's, property.
POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)
Anent the second issue, a water district is a government-owned and controlled corporation with a special
charter since it is created pursuant to a special law, Presidential Decree (PD) 198. It is undeniable that PD 198
expressly prohibits the grant of RATA, EME, and bonuses to members of the board of Water Districts.

Philippine Air Lines v COA 245 SCRA39

FACTS:
In this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, petitioner Philippine Airlines. Inc. (PAL) seeks
to review, annul end reverse Decision No. 1127 of the Commission on Audit (COA) dated January 5, 1990 and
to prohibit, enjoin and prevent COA from enforcing or in any way implementing Department Order No. 19, s.
1974 of the then Department of General Services as implemented by COA Circular No. 78-84, Memorandum
No. 498 and Memorandum No. 88-565. COA Decision No. 1127 required PAL to purchase its fuel requirements
solely from Petron Corporation (Petron).
PAL is a domestic corporation organized and existing under the Philippine laws, principally engaged in
the air transport business, both domestic and international. At the time of the filing of the petition on February 8,
1990, majority of its shares of stock was owned by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), a
government corporation.
To assure itself of continuous, reliable and cost-efficient supply of fuel, PAL adopted a system of
bidding out its fuel requirements under a multiple supplier set-up whereby PAL awarded to the lowest bidder
sixty percent (60%) of its fuel requirements and to the second lowest bidder the remaining forty percent(40%),
provided it matched the price of the lowest bidder.
On August 17, 1989, COA wrote PAL a letter stating It has come to our attention that PAL international
fuel supply contracts are expiring this August 31, 1989. In this connection, you are advised to desist from
bidding the company's fuel supply contracts, considering that existing regulations require government-owned or
controlled corporations and other agencies of government to procure their petroleum product requirements from
PETRON Corporation.
PAL sought reconsideration of the August 17, 1989 advice, reiterating its reasons contained in an earlier
letter, for preferring to bid out and secure its fuel supply from more than one supplier and for its contention that
Department Order No. 19, s. 1974, as circularized by COA Office Memorandum No. 490, should not apply to
PAL. The final appeal for reconsideration however it was denied. Hence this assailed decision.

ISSUE:
Whether the Commission on Audit committed grave abuse of discretion amount to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in holding that Department Order No. 19, of the defunct department of general services applies to
PAL?

HELD:
[the Court is compelled to dismiss the petition pursuant to the government's privitization program, PAL's
shares of stock were bidded out earlier this year, resulting in the acquisition by PR Holdings, a private
corporation, of 67% PAL's outstanding stocks. PAL having ceased to be a government-owned or controlled
corporation, is no longer under the audit jurisdiction of the COA.. Accordingly, the question raised in this
petition has clearly become moot and academic.]
Had it not been for this supervening event, PAL would have obtained the relief sought in the instant
petition. For although COA was correct in ruling that Department Order No. 19 applied to PAL as a government
agency at the time, it nonetheless gravely abused its discretion in not exempting PAL therefrom.
The COA is clothed under Section 2(2), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution with the "exclusive
authority, subject to the limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the
techniques and methods required therefor, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules, and regulations

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or
unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties." The authority granted under this
constitutional provision, being broad and comprehensive enough, enables COA to adopt as its own, simply by
reiteration or by reference, without the necessity of repromulgation, already existing rules and regulations. It
may also expand the coverage thereof to agencies or instrumentalities under its audit jurisdiction.
The reasons given by PAL for seeking exemption from the operation of Department Order No. 19 were,
to our mind, meritorious. They far outweigh the policy enunciated in Department Order No. 19 of giving
preference to government sources in the filling of the needs of the government for supplies. Thus, PAL's bidding
requirement conformed to the accepted policy of the government to subject every transaction/contract to public
bidding in order to protect public interest by giving the public the best possible advantages thru open
competition and to avoid or preclude suspicion of favoritism and anomalies in the execution of public contracts.
Its multiple supplier set-up was designed precisely to meet every contingency that might disrupt its fuel
supply. It bespoke of foresight, careful planning and sound business judgment on the part of PAL. As a business
operation heavily dependent on fuel supply, for PAL to rely solely on a single supplier would indeed be
impracticable. To compel it to do so would amount to a grave abuse of discretion on its part as this might
well lead to irregular, excessive or unconscionable expenditures, the very evil sought to be avoided in the
creation of the COA.

Bagatsing v Committee on Privitization 246 SCRA 334

FACTS:
PETRON was originally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1966 under
the corporate name "Esso Philippines, Inc." (ESSO) as a subsidiary of Esso Eastern, Inc. and Mobil Petroleum
Company, Inc.
In 1973, at the height of the world-wide oil crisis brought about by the Middle East conflicts, the
Philippine government acquired ESSO through the PNOC. ESSO became a wholly-owned company of the
government under the corporate name PETRON and as a subsidiary of PNOC.
In acquiring PETRON, the government aimed to have a buffer against the vagaries of oil prices in the
international market. It was felt that PETRON can serve as a counterfoil against price manipulation that might
go unchecked if all the oil companies were foreign-owned. Indeed, PETRON helped alleviate the energy crises
that visited the country from 1973 to 1974, 1979 to 1980, and 1990 to 1991.
On December 8, 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated Proclamation No. 50 in the exercise
of her legislative power under the Freedom Constitution.
The Proclamation is entitled "Proclaiming and Launching a Program for the Expeditious Disposition and
Privatization of Certain Government Corporations and/or the Assets thereof, and Creating the Committee on
Privatization and the Asset Privatization Trust." Implicit in the Proclamation is the need to raise revenue for the
Government and the ideal of leaving business to the private sector. The Government can then concentrate on the
delivery of basic services and the performance of vital public functions.
On March 25, 1993, the Government Corporate Monitoring and Coordinating Committee (GCMCC)
recommended a 100% privatization of PETRON.
Petitioners claims, among others, that there was a failed bidding, contend that there were only three
bidders. One of them, PETRONAS, submitted a bid lower than the floor price while a second, failed to pre-
qualify. Citing Section V-2-a of COA Circular No. 89-296 dated January 27, 1989, they argue that where only
one bidder qualifies, there is a failure of public auction.
Under said COA Circular, there is a failure of bidding when: 1) there is only one offeror; or (2) when all
the offers are non-complying or unacceptable.
In the case at bench, there were three offerors: SAUDI ARAMCO, PETRONAS and WESTMONT.

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)


While two offerors were disqualified, PETRONAS for submitting a bid below the floor price and
WESTMONT for technical reasons, not all the offerors were disqualified. To constitute a failed bidding under
the COA Circular, all the offerors must be disqualified.
Petitioners urge that in effect there was only one bidder and that it can not be said that there was a
competition on "an equal footing". But the COA Circular does not speak of accepted bids but of offerors,
without distinction as to whether they were disqualified.
The COA itself, the agency that adopted the rules on bidding procedure to be followed by government
offices and corporations, had upheld the validity and legality of the questioned bidding. The interpretation of
an agency of its own rules should be given more weight than the interpretation by that agency of the law
it is merely tasked to administer.

POLITICAL LAW REWIER: CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION (COA)