Case Digest (Longer Version): Boy Scouts of the Phils. v. Com. on Audit

G.R. No. 177131 : June 7, 2011




COA issued Resolution No. 99-0115 on August 19, 1999 with the subject "Defining the Commissions policy with respect to the audit of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines." In its whereas clauses, the COA Resolution stated that the BSP was created as a public corporation under CA No. 111, as amended by PD No. 460 and Republic Act No. 7278; that in Boy Scouts of the Philippines v. NLRC, the Supreme Court ruled that the BSP, as constituted under its charter, was a "government-controlled corporation within the meaning of Article IX(B)(2)(1) of the Constitution"; and that "the BSP is appropriately regarded as a government instrumentality under the 1987 Administrative Code." The COA Resolution also cited its constitutional mandate under Section 2(1), Article IX (D).

COA General Counsel, Director Sunico wrote BSP that latter have to comply with COA Resolution No. 99-011, among which is to conduct an annual financial audit therein.

Upon the BSPs request, the audit was deferred for thirty (30) days. The BSP then filed a Petition for Review with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order before the COA. This was denied by the COA in its questioned Decision, which held that the BSP is under its audit jurisdiction. The BSP moved for reconsideration but this was likewise denied under its questioned Resolution.

This led to the filing by the BSP of this petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the COA.

ISSUE: Whether the BSP falls under the COAs audit jurisdiction.

HELD: The BSP is under the COAs audit jurisdiction.

POLITICAL LAW personality of BSP

We believe that the BSP is appropriately regarded as "a government instrumentality" under the 1987 Administrative Code.

It thus appears that the BSP may be regarded as both a "government controlled corporation with an original charter" and as an "instrumentality" of the Government within the meaning of Article IX (B) (2) (1) of the Constitution.

The existence of public or government corporate or juridical entities or chartered institutions by legislative fiat distinct from private corporations and government owned or controlled corporation is best exemplified by the 1987 Administrative Code cited above, which we quote in part:

Sec. 2. General Terms Defined. Unless the specific words of the text, or the context as a whole, or a particular statute, shall require a different meaning:

(10) "Instrumentality" refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations. 

(12) "Chartered institution" refers to any agency organized or operating under a special charter, and vested by law with functions relating to specific constitutional policies or objectives. This term includes the state universities and colleges and the monetary authority of the State.

(13) "Government-owned or controlled corporation" refers to any agency organized as a stock or non-stock corporation, vested with functions relating to public needs whether governmental or proprietary in nature, and owned by the Government directly or through its instrumentalities either wholly, or, where applicable as in the case of stock corporations, to the extent of at least fifty-one (51) per cent of its capital stock: Provided, That government-owned or controlled corporations may be further categorized by the Department of the Budget, the Civil Service Commission, and the Commission on Audit for purposes of the exercise and discharge of their respective powers, functions and responsibilities with respect to such corporations.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the BSP ceases to be owned or controlled by the government because of reduction of the number of representatives of the government in the BSP Board, it does not follow that it also ceases to be a government instrumentality as it still retains all the characteristics of the latter as an attached agency of the DECS under the Administrative Code. Vesting corporate powers to an attached agency or instrumentality of the government is not constitutionally prohibited and is allowed by the above-mentioned provisions of the Civil Code and the 1987 Administrative Code.

Historically, therefore, the BSP had been subjected to government audit in so far as public funds had been infused thereto. However, this practice should not preclude the exercise of the audit jurisdiction of COA, clearly set forth under the Constitution, which pertinently provides:

Section 2. (1) The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis: (a) constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under this Constitution; (b) autonomous state colleges and universities; (c) other government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters and their subsidiaries; and (d) such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the Government, which are required by law of the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity.

Since the BSP, under its amended charter, continues to be a public corporation or a government instrumentality, we come to the inevitable conclusion that it is subject to the exercise by the COA of its audit jurisdiction in the manner consistent with the provisions of the BSP Charter.

The Petition for prohibition is dismissed.

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