Same issue, different scenarios?
The alleged excessive allowances received by the Office of the Solicitor General, as pointed out by the Commission on Audit, is the very same issue that confronted the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel while I was its head.
The issue on allowances flagged by the COA for being paid directly to lawyers and not being remitted to the OSG-Financial Management Service is the same observation on the OGCC.
The COA’s audit report also pointed out that OSG lawyers received more than 50 percent of their basic salary. This is
also the exact finding of the COA on OGCC lawyers.
However, the differences are:
1. I never accepted a single centavo of allowances/honoraria, and in fact, I refused to accept when I was offered such allowances/honoraria;
2. I implemented the crucial recommendations of the COA, namely,
(i) to refrain from collecting “secret allowances” or those paid directly to lawyers (considering that it is the OGCC as an institution which is the statutory counsel of the government-owned and -controlled corporations, not the lawyers employed by the OGCC);
(ii) to instruct the office accountant to process
allowances only up to 50 percent of the basic salary; and (iii) to deposit the excessive allowances in a trust fund of the OGCC.
In fact, I even ordered the OGCC lawyers to inform the GOCCs to remit all allowances/honoraria to the OGCC for monitoring, and for payment of the correct amount of taxes since these allowances are, in reality, additional income.
RUDOLF PHILIP B. JURADO
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