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The Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminds government officials and employees to promptly settle and liquidate cash advances (CA) to avoid liability.

This, after the Commission has come out with CSC Resolution No. 1900929 or revised guidelines on the settlement or liquidation of CA, which sets varying penalties based on the nature of offense and existing circumstances.

An Accountable Officer who, after formal demand by the Resident Commission on Audit (COA) Auditor, fully liquidates, settles, or pays the CA within the period stated in the demand letter, with a valid justification and no aggravating circumstances present, shall be absolved of any administrative liability.

If no valid justification is presented, the Accountable Officer shall be liable for Simple Neglect of Duty with the penalty of suspension from the government service for one month and one day. If, aside from having no valid justification, there are aggravating circumstances present and no mitigating circumstances that can offset the former, the penalty of three months shall be imposed.

On the other hand, an Accountable Officer who, after receiving the formal demand from COA, partially liquidates the CA and presents a valid justification, shall be held liable for Simple Neglect of Duty punishable by suspension for one month and one day. In such instance, the following conditions must also be complied with: a) the partial liquidation of not less than 50 percent of the total unliquidated CA was made within the prescribed period; b) the Accountable Officer has the intention to fully liquidate the CA through means such as salary deduction or execution of promissory note to pay the unliquidated portion of the CA; and c) no aggravating circumstances are present. If there would be aggravating circumstances, suspension shall be stretched to three months.

The most serious offense of Gross Neglect of Duty with corresponding penalty of dismissal from the service on the first instance shall be imposed when the Accountable Officer, despite receiving a formal demand from COA, fails to make partial or full liquidation of the CA within the prescribed period stated in the demand letter.

Alternatively, the offense of Gross Neglect of Duty applies when the Accountable Officer partially liquidates the CA but fails to present any valid justification and shows no intention to fully liquidate.

The same offense may be imposed when the Accountable Officer makes partial liquidation and shows intention to fully liquidate, then defaults in the payment of the unliquidated CA.

CSC Resolution No. 1900929 dated 13 August 2019, circularized via CSC Memorandum Circular No. 23, s. 2019, amended an earlier policy, CSC Resolution No. 1200103 dated 12 January 2012. The latter states that the failure of an Accountable Officer to render an account in full within the periods prescribed shall be meted the administrative offense of Gross Neglect of Duty punishable by dismissal from the service on the first offense.

The CSC resolution cites COA Circular No. 2012-001 as basis for the period within which to liquidate CA. Salaries, wages, honoraria and other similar payments must be liquidated within 5 calendar days; field operating expenses, within 20 calendar days after the end of the year or replenished as frequently as necessary; petty cash fund, replenished as soon as the disbursements reach 75 percent or as needed; traveling expenses, within 30 calendar days after the official/employee returns to his/her official work station for local travel and within 60 calendar days in the case of foreign travel; and special purpose, as soon as the purpose of the CA has been served.

CSC Resolution No. 1900929 took effect on 22 September 2019.