The administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) on Sunday clarified that the pension distributed to already dead veterans were not claimed.
After the Commission on Audit (COA) called out PVAO regarding pensions distributed to dead veterans, PVAO administrator Undersecretary Ernesto Carolina defended his office from suspicions.
“Ang unang statement ko, ginagarantiyahan natin walang patay na na nakatanggap pa ng pension,” Carolina said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
The COA report said 5,721 deceased claimants under the payroll of the PVAO continued receiving their monthly pension amounting to P70.25 million, more than half of which remain unrefunded.
Carolina said PVAO had included some deceased veterans in their pension payroll because the office had not yet been informed of their deaths at the time.
The PVAO already explained to COA that sometimes in the process of finalizing the payroll, some of the veterans to be included in the list suddenly die, Carolina added.
“Ang report nila, bakit 'yung payroll ng nakaraang taon, e merong pangalan ng namatay na? So na-explain na talagang ganu'n, dahil hindi instant na nalalaman mo na namamatay,” he said.
Carolina noted that the money was only transferred in banks, but never withdrawn.
“Kasi nga patay na siya. Hindi siya makaka-withdraw,” he said
PVAO receives a ‘death list’ monthly from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This list is compared to their veterans’ list to adjust the payroll, according to Carolina.
“Nalalaman naman agad. Mahaba na ang two months,” Carolina said.
Aside from this, Carolina said, PVAO taps personnel of Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) to visit veterans and take their photos for proof of life.
According to Carolina, the COA report was an audit observation which also helps a government office in improving management just like PVAO.
“Mabagal daw 'yung pag-monitor. Delayed 'yung information tungkol sa mga namatay kaya nagresulta daw doon sa nakita nilang payroll na may mga patay na,” Carolina said.
“'Yun ang report nila. Hindi sinabing binabayaran 'yung patay,” he added. —Joviland Rita/KG, GMA News