5 Government corporate lawyers received P621,000 ‘excess’ allowances in 2017 – COA

  • COA identified 5 government corporate lawyers who received P621,717.72 excess allowances in 2017
  • According to the policy, they should not receive an allowance which would exceed 50% of their yearly salary
  • Former OGCC Chief Jurado disclosed information about the secret allowances received by the lawyers days before he got fired by President Duterte

Recently the Commission on Audit (COA) took notice of a certain P621,717.72 in “excess” allowances given to five lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) by their client state firms in 2017. The findings seemed to support the allegations of chief Rudolf Jurado, who is already displaced from his position by President Duterte.

As per COA’s policy mentioned on COA Circular No. 85-25-E, government corporate lawyers could actually receive allowances from the state companies they work for, however, the amounts should not exceed 50 percent of their annual salaries.

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In its 2017 annual audit report, the five lawyers were named, they are as follows: Elpidio Vega, deputy government corporate counsel; Efren Gonzales, assistant government corporate counsel for litigation; Medardo Devera, Manuel Santos Jr. and Aniceto Calubaquib Jr.

Over all, COA found out that they have collectively received P3.72 million which is beyond their capped allowance at P3.1 million.In addition, the 5 lawyers did not remit the allowances paid by the client GOCCs (Government Owned and Controlled Corporations) to OGCC. The remittance could have been done for proper monitoring and withholding of taxes according to COA.

According to Inquirer, last May 24, four days before Duterte fired former OGCC chief Jurado, he was able to send a letter to radio station DZMM. He disclosed that some government corporate lawyers are receiving “secret allowances” from the GOCCs. He also stated that “these OGCC lawyers are trying to malign my reputation by alleging that I am supposedly incompetent and corrupt.”

It was Jurado’s response to the letter dated May 23 letter sent to dzMM accusing him that he favored the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone in a legal opinion that approved a 75-year casino permit.

Later on, it became Pres. Duterte’s reason for firing Jurado.

The COA report, however, showed that Jurado initially defended the lawyers who received the excess untaxed allowances.