THE late Benguet Congressman Nestor Fongwan has been posthumously cleared of liability in a supposed unauthorized P33.28 million payment worth of Productive Enhancement Incentive (PEI) benefits to provincial officials and employees.
Fongwan, who died in December of 2019, a few mere months after his election as Benguet representative, was cleared of liability by the Commission on Audit-Commission Proper (COA-CP) from the alleged unauthorized PEI payments made in 2015.
In 2015, Fongwan, who was then the Benguet provincial governor, was held liable alongside other provincial officials over flagged payments worth P24,604,235.89 and P8,684,390.36 to provincial employees in 2014.
In an audit, the COA-Cordillera (COA-CAR) issued a Notice of Disallowance (ND) covering the releases of the PEI amount to P5,000 per employee, which Fongwan appealed in 2016, citing Department of Budget and Management Budget Circular No. 2014-3 , which authorizes the provision of PEI to employees at a rate determined by the local legislative council, for so long as it is not in excess of the Personal Service limitation imposed by the Local Government Code.
On July 9, the COA-CP upheld Fongwan’s Petition for Review, lifting the ND against the PEI payments and subsequently clearing Fongwan posthumously of liability over the P33 million.
However, audits and further investigations are now ongoing to determine whether the PEI payments made were in compliance with the prescribed Personal Service limitations imposed in the Local Government Code.