Dingdong Avanzado triumphs over Siquijor in P3M wages claim

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by Allan Yves Briones

Singer Fernando “Dingdong” Avanzado, former Siquijor vice governor, triumphed over the provincial government in a P3.33 million money claim for the payment Sangguniang Panlalawigan job order (JO) workers from 2015 to 2016.

In a decision by the Commission on Audit Commission Proper (COA-CP), the three-man panel held that Avanzado, as then-vice governor, had legal basis in hiring over 200 JO workers for the local legislative department.

“This Commission recognizes the authority of the Vice Governor to appoint officials and employees of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and it would be an encroachment of such authority should the Governor exercise the same or meddle in the affairs of the Sanggunian with regard to its personnel, just like in this case,” the decision stated.

During his stint as vice governor, Avanzado claimed that he hired several JO workers, a number of whom were not paid their wages from November 2015 to June 2016 due to interference from Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa.

Source: COA Decision No. 2019-312

Villa issued Memorandum No. 2015-ZSV-059 on December 18, 2015, deferring the payment of wages until the expenses of the Office of the Vice Governor have been accounted for.

In his money claim, Avanzado argued that the contracts were executed between him as the vice governor and the JO workers, and that a decision by the regional trial court acknowledged his discretion to appoint workers with wages to be charged against the Sanggunian’s funds.

COA-CP sided with Avanzado.

“The Memoranda of the Governor dated December 18, 2015 and January 22, 2016, putting in issue the sufficiency of the budget of the Sanggunian and/or Office of the Vice Governor and requiring the submission of performance output, detail order, with the exception of DTRs and biometric print out or logbook, constitute an undue interference with the functions of the Vice Governor and its office,” COA-CP said.

However, it denied the claims for November and December 2015, stating that Avanzado failed to substantiate the same with the necessary documents.

In the decision’s dispositive portion, COA-CP granted the money claim, but only for P1.75 million corresponding to the payment of wages from January to June 2016.

The decision was written by a three-man panel composed of Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc.