By Ben Rosario
Proponents of free “Operation Tuli” sponsorships in government beware.
The Commission on Audit has ruled as “illegal” the disbursement of government funds to finance an “Operation Tuli” project or the conduct of free circumcision for boys that is usually staged during summer.
In a decision released recently, the three-man COA Commission Proper “affirmed with finality” the issuance of a Notice of Disallowance directing three officials of he Calabanga Water District in Camarines Sur to return P19,978.12 they spent for an “Operation Tuli” that marked the silver anniversary of the local water firm.
The COA-CP, headed by Chairman Michael Aguinaldo, issued the decision after the CWD officials sought a reconsideration of the decision of the COA director of Region 5 to issue a notice of disallowance (ND) on the expenses for the holding of the free circumcision mission.
Ruling on the Petition for Review filed by the CWD officials, the COA, CP said it could not give due course to the appeal.
In its decision, the COA body noted that the petition was filed “out of time” having been submitted 194 days from the petitioners’ receipt of the ND.
“Perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period permitted by law is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional and the failure to perfect the appeal renders the judgment final and executory,” the COA-CP stated.
In upholding the regional director’s decision to issue an ND, the COA body cited the case of Silang vs COA, which held officials “solidarily liable” for being “directly responsible for or participated in making the illegal expenditures.”
“Having attained finality, the assailed decision is immutable and unalterable and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusion of fact and law,” the COA ruled.
Despite defaulting in filing the review petition, the COA CP decided to look into the petition and point out that the arguments presented by the petitioners “are repetition of the issues already judiciously discussed and found without merit in the assailed decision.
“There being no new matters presented, this Commission finds no reason to disturb the findings of the RD.”
Aside from Aguinaldo, the other members of the panel were Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc.