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Sanggunian in Montevista, ComVal hit over excessive travel fees

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State auditors scored the Sangguniang Bayan members in Montevista, Compostela Valley for incurring excessive travel claims amounting to P137,820, resulting in wastage of government funds.

In a 2016 report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the Sangguniang Bayan incurred P137,820 expenses in their travels to attend various activities of the Philippine Councilors League.

A COA circular defines an excessive expenditure as an “unreasonable expense or expenses incurred at an immoderate quantity and exorbitant price” and those which are “unreasonably high and beyond just measure or amount.”

The expenses were excessive because of the following – excessive van rental claimed by each participant bound for Naga at P7,500 each; taxi fare from boarding house to the venue and vice versa totaling P1,000 each; per diem of P800 per day even if the registration fee covers the lodging accommodation and meals as stated in the invitation letter; per diem of P400 on the day of return to official station.

Auditors said the excessive expenditure is subject to disallowance and should be refunded immediately.

The COA urged the municipal mayor Eutropio Jayectin to instruct the concerned Sangguniang Bayan members to refund immediately the excess travel claims.

During the exit conference, the bookkeeper justified that the travel claims were granted in accordance with the coverage of the registration fees as mentioned in the invitation letters.