A-21165, JANUARY 19, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 425

A-21165: Jan 19, 1928

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LIGHT WHERE AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS WAS ERRONEOUSLY PAID COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS. WAS COLLECTED FROM HIM. HE IS ENTITLED. TO REFUND OF SUCH COLLECTIONS ONLY WHERE AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE REGULAR ARMY SERVING AT THE SAME MILITARY POST UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS AS SUCH PHILIPPINE SCOUT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THEN EXISTING LAWS AND REGULATIONS TO COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS. 1928: THERE WAS RECEIVED JANUARY 9. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $47.10 PAID TO YOU AS COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS. THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY HAS REPORTED THAT YOU WERE A FIRST SERGEANT ON DUTY WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION. AT A PERMANENT ARMY POST DURING THE PERIOD THE COMMUTATION IN QUESTION WAS PAID TO YOU.

A-21165, JANUARY 19, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 425

PHILIPPINE SCOUTS - REFUNDS OF AMOUNTS COLLECTED ON ACCOUNT OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT WHERE AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS WAS ERRONEOUSLY PAID COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT WHICH, PRIOR TO MAY 10, 1926, WAS COLLECTED FROM HIM, HE IS ENTITLED, UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1926, 44 STAT. 496, TO REFUND OF SUCH COLLECTIONS ONLY WHERE AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE REGULAR ARMY SERVING AT THE SAME MILITARY POST UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS AS SUCH PHILIPPINE SCOUT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THEN EXISTING LAWS AND REGULATIONS TO COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO SERGT. DOMINGO GALUTERA, PHILIPPINE SCOUTS, JANUARY 19, 1928:

THERE WAS RECEIVED JANUARY 9, 1928, YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0164510, DATED JULY 6, 1927, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $47.10 PAID TO YOU AS COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT FROM NOVEMBER 24, 1920, TO JANUARY 31, 1921, AND, SUBSEQUENTLY, COLLECTED FROM YOU, BETWEEN FEBRUARY 1, 1921, AND JUNE 30, 1921.

THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY HAS REPORTED THAT YOU WERE A FIRST SERGEANT ON DUTY WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION, THE FIRST PHILIPPINE ENGINEERS, AT A PERMANENT ARMY POST DURING THE PERIOD THE COMMUTATION IN QUESTION WAS PAID TO YOU; THAT YOU WERE NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO RECEIVE COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT, BUT THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT, TO RECEIVE SUCH COMMUTATION; THAT SAID COMMANDING OFFICER, PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT, STATES APPROVAL FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMMUTATION TO YOU WAS APPARENTLY BASED ON A MISINTERPRETATION OF FOOTNOTE 2, A.R. 1044, 1913, AFTER THE REGRADING OF ENLISTED MEN UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920; AND, THAT UPON RECEIPT IN THAT DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT THAT FIRST SERGEANTS AT PERMANENT POSTS WERE NOT ENTITLED TO COMMUTATION WHEN PUBLIC QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE, REFUND OF ALL SUCH PAYMENTS WAS DIRECTED. COLLECTION WAS DIRECTED BY ARMY AUTHORITIES NOT BY OR IN PURSUANCE OF ACTION BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS, AND COLLECTION WAS COMPLETED BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

YOUR CLAIM IS ASSERTED UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1926, 44 STAT. 496, WHICH PROVIDES:

THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF WHATEVER NATURE AND KIND TO BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE ENLISTED MEN OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS SHALL BE FIXED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND SHALL NOT EXCEED OR BE OF OTHER CLASSES THAN THOSE NOW OR WHICH MAY HEREAFTER BE AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY: PROVIDED, THAT PAYMENTS OF TRAVEL PAY AND OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT HERETOFORE MADE TO ENLISTED MEN OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS, IF NOT IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED AT THE TIME FOR ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY, BE, AND THE SAME ARE HEREBY, VALIDATED: AND, PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ANY SUCH PAYMENTS OF TRAVEL PAY AND COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT WHICH HAVE BEEN COLLECTED BACK FROM ENLISTED MEN OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS TO WHOM ORIGINALLY PAID SHALL BE REFUNDED TO THEM.

FOOTNOTE 2, PARAGRAPH 1044, A.R. 1913, UNDER A MISINTERPRETATION OF WHICH YOU WERE PAID THE COMMUTATION IN QUESTION, PROVIDED THAT CERTAIN NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE ARMY, INCLUDING FIRST SERGEANTS AND SERGEANTS FIRST CLASS, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, WERE ENTITLED TO SEPARATE QUARTERS ONLY WHEN SAME WERE AVAILABLE. ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY ON DUTY AT PLACES WHERE THERE WERE NO PUBLIC QUARTERS AVAILABLE WERE ENTITLED, PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1922, UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1915, 38 STAT. 1069, TO COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS ONLY WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. 33 MS. COMP. GEN. 226; 45 MS. ID. 175. UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 16, 1918, 40 STAT. 530, AS EXTENDED BY SECTION 2, ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 602, CERTAIN ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY WHO MAINTAINED AN ABODE FOR DEPENDENTS WERE ENTITLED TO COMMUTATION FOR SUCH DEPENDENTS WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD OR ON ACTIVE DUTY WITHOUT THE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES. 26 COMP. DEC. 954, 961.

THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO PAY A FIRST SERGEANT OF THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT PRIOR TO THE CITED ACT OF MAY 10, 1926. THE ACT AUTHORIZES VALIDATION OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION THERETOFORE MADE TO SUCH ENLISTED MEN AND REFUND OF SUCH PAYMENTS WHICH HAD BEEN COLLECTED ONLY IF NOT IN EXCESS OF WHAT AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE REGULAR ARMY, SERVING AT THE SAME MILITARY POST UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES AS SUCH PHILIPPINE SCOUT, WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THE THEN EXISTING LAWS AND REGULATIONS.

YOUR WERE NOT ON DUTY IN THE FIELD OR ON DUTY WITHOUT THE TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES OVER THE PERIOD OF YOUR CLAIM. IT IS CLEAR THAT AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE REGULAR ARMY IN SUCH A SITUATION AS YOURS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT UNDER THEN EXISTING LAWS AND REGULATIONS, AND IT FOLLOWS THAT REFUND OF THE COLLECTIONS MADE FROM YOU IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM WAS CORRECT AND THAT ACTION MUST BE SUSTAINED.