Fua, Jr. vs. COA

27 Mar

GOVERNOR ORLANDO A. FUA, JR.,* IN REPRESENTATION OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF SIQUIJOR and ALL ITS OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, Petitioners,

vs.

THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT and ELIZABETH S. ZOSA, DIRECTOR IV, LEGAL AND ADJUDICATION OFFICE-LOCAL COMMISSION OF AUDIT, QUEZON CTY, PHILIPPINES,Respondents.

G.R. No. 175803              December 4, 2009

 

FACTS:

  • The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Siquijor adopted Resolution No. 2003-247 segregating the sum of P8,600,000.00 as payment for the grant of extra Christmas bonus at P20,000.00 each to all its officials and employees.
  • Thereafter, Resolution No. 2003-239 was adopted requesting President GMA for an authority to the Provincial Government of Siquijor to grant such bonus.
  • Petitioner wrote a letter to the President reiterating said request.
  • On said letter, the President then wrote a marginal note reading, NO OBJECTION.
  • The provincial government, relying on the aforementioned resolutions and the President’s marginal note, then proceeded to release the extra Christmas bonus to its officials and employees.
  • However, a post-audit was conducted by Ms. Eufemia C. Jaugan, Audit Team Leader (ATL), Province of Siquijor, and thereafter, she issued Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) Nos. 2004-011 and 2004-022, respectively.
  • In AOM Nos. 2004-011 and 2004-022, Ms. Jaugan questioned the legality of the payment of said bonuses, citing Section 4.1 of Budget Circular No. 2003-7 limiting the grant of Extra Christmas Bonus to P5,000.00, and Section 325 (a) of the Local Government Code imposing a 55% limitation on Personal Services expenditures.
  • AOM Nos. 2004-011 and 2004-022 were then reviewed by Atty. Roy L. Ursal, Regional Cluster Director, Legal and Adjudication Sector, COA Region VII.
  • Atty. Ursal disallowed the payments and issued Notices of Disallowance.
  • Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Regional Cluster Director.
  • From said denial, petitioner appealed to the Commission on Audit-Legal and Adjudication Office (COA-LAO-Local).
  • However, the COA-LAO-Local issued a Decision affirming the Regional Cluster Director’s Notice of Disallowance.
  • Aggrieved by the foregoing Decision of the COA-LAO-Local, petitioner filed a Petition forCertiorari, under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

 

ISSUE:

  • Whether or not petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies.

 

RULING:

  • Yes.
  • By immediately filing the present petition for certiorari, petitioner failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to him.
  • Rule VI, Sec. 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure of the COA states that: “The party aggrieved by a final order or decision of the Director may appeal to the Commission Proper.”
  • The Commission Proper, which is the tribunal possessing special knowledge, experience and tools to determine technical and intricate matters of fact involved in the conduct of the audit, would still be the best body to determine whether the marginal note of No Objection on petitioner’s letter-request to the President is indeed authentic and tantamount to the required approval.
  • It was absolutely necessary for petitioner to allege in the petition, and adduce evidence to prove, that any other existing remedy is not speedy or adequate.
  • Thus, since petitioner could have appealed the Decision of the Director to the Commission Proper under the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure of the COA, he is definitely not entitled to a writ of certiorari, because there was some other speedy and adequate remedy available to him.
  • Petitioner having failed to pursue an appeal with the Commission Proper, the Decision issued by the COA-LAO-Local has become final and executory.
  • Consequently, the Decision of the COA-LAO-Local can no longer be altered or modified.
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