May 27, 2024

The former indigenous peoples mandatory representative of La Trinidad, Benguet has yet to collect his unpaid salaries of more than P1 million from the municipal government despite a favorable decision from the Commission on Audit.
In a letter dated Feb. 6 to La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, Abela asked for the mayor to facilitate the approval of a supplement budget, which will cover an allocation for his unpaid salaries from Oct. 8, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2015.
“We humbly request your good office issue a supplemental budget for the immediate satisfaction of this long-standing obligation,” Abela said.
Abela said the LGU has yet to release his claim for when the COA decision was released, the municipal government has already deliberated on the incoming year’s annual budget and was transmitted to the sangguniang panlalawigan for review.
On Nov. 5, 2021, the COA partially granted Abela’s money claim of P1,034,377.77, less withholding taxes affirming his contention that an IPMR should receive the same salaries and benefits as that of an elected member of the sangguniang bayan, based on Department of the Interior and Local Government and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples issuances.
The COA, however, denied Abela’s petition for the payment of legal interest apart from his unpaid benefits and salaries.
Citing a Supreme Court ruling, the COA said there is no legal basis authorizing payment of legal interest. – Rimaliza A. Opiña