Consultants of bases agency lose benefits

Published by rudy Date posted on March 4, 2009

The Supreme Court has ruled that the board of directors and consultants of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority are not entitled to year-end benefits.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the high court cited a circular of the Budget Department, which says that members of the board of directors of agencies are not salaried officials of government and, therefore, are not entitled to year-end benefits as well as retirement benefits unless expressly provided by law.

The Budget circular also states that year-end benefits and retirement pays are personnel benefits granted in addition to salaries, the high court said in a Feb. 26 ruling.

As fringe benefits, these shall be paid only when the basic salary is also paid, it said.

The court also held that the full-time consultants are not part of the BCDA’s regular personnel and not paid the basic salary since there is no employer-employee relationship between them and the agency.

The high court issued the ruling on a 2006 petition of the bases agency whose grant of year-end benefits to board members and consultants dating back to 1997 was disallowed by the Commission on Audit in December 2004.

The high court stressed that since there is no proof that the board members and the full-time consultants knew that their receipt of the year-end benefit was unlawful, “they are not required to refund the year-end benefits they have already received.”

The tribunal noted that while the BCDA law, Republic Act 7227, authorizes the board to adopt a compensation and benefit scheme for its employees, “the board’s power is not unlimited because the same BCDA law limits the compensation to board members to P5,000 for every board meeting provided the per diem collected per month does not exceed the equivalent of four meetings.” –Rey E. Requejo, Manila Standard Today

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