Feb 20, 2021 @ 23:47

CA upholds COA’s authority on payment of money claims vs gov’t bodies

The Court of Appeals (CA) stressed that the Commission on Audit (COA) has the final say on the payment of money claims against government bodies despite a writ of execution handed down by a court.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Danton Bueser dated February 16, the appellate court’s Twelfth Division dismissed the petition filed by the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) against a supplier, Yale Hardware Corporation.

MWSS had appealed a writ of execution of the Manila Regional Trial Court in favor of the company for a 1993 notice of award issued by the MWSS for the supply and delivery of repair clamps for plastic tubing to be used in connection with the Manila Water Supply Rehabilitation Project II.

For two years from 1993, Yale delivered to MWSS various tools and hardware materials amounting to PHP2,583,413. MWSS, however, then refused to pay, citing that some of the delivered products failed to meet technical requirements.

A ruling by the lower court subsequently ruled in favor of the corporation and ordered MWSS to pay up, prompting the latter to take the case to the CA arguing that money claims such as the ones in the case should be filed and settled before the COA.

The CA in dismissing the petition of MWSS said while the writ of execution issued by the Manila court is proper, it does not do away with government regulations requiring the approval by the COA for payment.

“Indeed, the COA can still exercise its authority and power even if a court’s decision in a case has already become final and executory as it still retains its primary jurisdiction to adjudicate a claim even after the issuance of a writ of execution. Despite the rendition of a final and executory judgment validating said money claim against an agency or instrumentality of the government, the claimant has to first seek the COA’s approval of the monetary claim, and its filing with the COA is a condition sine qua non before payment can be effected,” the court said. (PNA)

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