COA gives NLRC rare pat on the back for overshooting labor dispute targets

Published August 19, 2019, 5:37 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Ben Rosario

The National Labor Relations Commission has received a pat on the back from the Commission on Audit (COA), rarely given by the audit agency, for its successful implementation of the Project Speedy and Efficient Delivery (SpeED) of Labor Justice and overshooting its target in the disposition of labor cases.

Commission on Audit (MANILA BULLETIN)

But a “double release” of judgment award to two sets of claimants was also noted by state auditors in its 2018 annual audit report on NLRC.

The double release of awards was discovered in four cases with two sets of claimants filed before the National Arbitration Branch No. II against Honey Lodge Hotel/Smiley Inn and/or Joseph Princesa Bulanadi.

In its compliance audit of labor disputes, COA commended NLRC for the high disposition of cases attributed to the Project SpeED strategy.

Auditors said NLRC officials should also be lauded for requiring each arbiter of regional arbitration branches “to observe the quota system and imposing sanctions for non-compliance.”

“We commended the high disposition rate of (a) labor dispute resolutions services in NLRC RAB Nos. VIII, IX, X, and XII; (b) appealed cases by the Commission Proper and the Agency for achieving more than its 98 percent target of its appealed cases being affirmed by higher authority” the audit findings stated.

“We also recommended that management continue to focus on its good performance for the speedy disposition of labor cases,” auditors added.

COA rarely offers commendations in its annual audit report, but NLRC’s outstanding performance was deemed an exception.
State auditors disclosed that at least 45,969 cases were disposed within a nine-month process cycle time (PCT) for RABS and six-month PCT for the Commission Proper.

This comprised a 94.26 percent disposition rate that exceeded the agency’s 94 percent target under the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

“Further, 34,042 cases or 69.80 percent of the 48,770 were disposed within three months, exceeding its 66 percent accomplishment target,” the audit report added.

COA added: “On the appealed cases before the Court of Appeals, 7,073 or 98.26 percent of 7,198 received cases, was affirmed by the higher authority exceeding its 98 percent accomplishment target.”

But COA disclosed that RABS NCR, CAR, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, XI and XII failed to meet the agency overall target, prompting the audit agency to advise officials to “exert more effort to achieve their targets.”

On the double award, records indicated that a notice of garnishments was issued to different banks and to the cashier for the attachment of the cash bond of P292,502.50, prompting the respondent to deposit the amount on July 21, 2017.

The amount was later proportionately paid to four claimants and for execution and attorneys fees.

In the second set of cases, cash bond amounting to P294,102.50 was deposited by the respondent on December 21, 2017.

When audited, it was disclosed that P586,605,000 was disbursed to the three complainants for the second set of cases, instead of just P294,102.50, resulting in excess payment of P292,502.50 allegedly due to the double release of judgment awards.

COA urged RAB II officials to determine accountable personnel involved in the double release of judgment awards.