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Makati’s payment of honoraria to UMak officials valid: COA

THE Makati City government did not violate any law when it granted Management Development Program honoraria payments to officials of the University of Makati (UMak) in 2015 and 2016 amounting to P5,209,494.40.

This was the pronouncement of the Commission on Audit in a decision that upheld the 2018 ruling of the COA-National Capital Region that ordered the lifting of the notice of disallowance issued against the stipend.

Cleared of liability were incumbent Mayor Mar-Len Abigail Binay, former mayors Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and Romulo Peña, and former city administrators Claro Certeza and Eleno Mendoza Jr., together with officials of the city budget office, city treasurers’ office, accounting department, and UMak officials and instructors.

They were previously held liable on a finding by the audit team that the payment of honoraria to UMak officials had no legal basis.

The COA Commission Proper, in its automatic review of the ruling of COA-NCR, declared the lifting of the notice of disallowance was proper as the payment of honoraria to university officials was supported by the provisions of RA 4670 or the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers.

Under Section 2 of RA 4670, the term “teacher” was defined to cover not just persons involved in instruction but also “all other persons performing supervisor and/or administrative functions in all schools, colleges and universities operated by the government or its political subdivisions.”

Section 14 on the other hand provides that teachers or school officials who render work exceeding eight hours shall be paid additional compensation of at least 25 percent of their regular rate.

“The honoraria of the UMak officials for the period of January 2015 to December 2016 is a grant of additional compensation for rendering services in excess of their normal duties.

The payment of honoraria to officials of the UMak does not also exceed the general limitations for personnel services. Thus, the lifting of the ND (notice of disallowance) is proper,” the COA said.

However, the audit team assigned to the city government was directed to validate the accuracy of the computation of the honoraria granted and to issue another notice of