Articles and findings from the Commission on Audit
(Extracted from "Petty, big, routine graft a lucrative trade at AFP" by Malou Mangahas, Philippine
Center for Investigative Journalism)
Reports of the Commission on
Audit (COA) on the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) from 2007 to 2009 alone speak of more tragic tales of
corruption, with more real victims and bigger costs on the treasury. Among these:
The AFP paid 184 “pensioners”
aged 95 to 110 years old a total of P2.3 million in September 2009. This apparent case of ghost beneficiaries actually cost
more, or P27.6 million, if the pension benefits were computed for the 12 months of 2009. The average lifespan in the
Philippines as of March 2010 is 71.6 years for women, and 66.1 for men.
Aside from these centenarians, a
random audit in 2009 of pension payments totaling P243.2 million showed that the entire amount went to 18,051 pensioners and
their heirs without birth dates, and 4,220 other pensioners without addresses indicated on the AFP master list of retired
From 2007 to 2009, the AFP signed
22 “perfected contracts” for supplies (binoculars, squad automatic weapons, hand-held radio, basic trainer aircraft,
light support watercraft, patrol killer medium, 76mm ammunition, explosive ordinance disposal bomb suit, etc.) under the AFP
Modernization Program. As of December 2009, copies of these “perfected contracts” had yet to be submitted to the
Office of the Auditor, the COA said.
Nine supplies contracts worth a
total of P1.96 billion funded under the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund and awarded from 2003 to 2006 had been marked by
delayed deliveries ranging from nine to 181 days. But as of December 2009, the COA said the AFP had not submitted the delivery
receipts for seven of the nine contracts, and in all cases, had not shared information on contract amendments and extension
of delivery dates.
From 2002 to 2009, the DND
had not collected or could not explain a total of P918.2 million in “accounts due from National Government Agencies,”
including multimillion pesos for such items as “construction of
PGMA SONA school buildings (DPWH)” that apparently refer to projects that then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had
promised in her State of the Nation addresses and entrusted to the Department of Public Works and Highways to implement, using
funds tucked in the DND budget.
On Apr. 19, 2007, or three weeks
to the May 2007 congressional and local elections, the DND released P549.7 million “to fund Foreign Military Sales P1-B
under the RP-US Defense Assessment” that officers say need not be funded by the Philippine government at all.
In the last three months of 2008, the
DND made several multimillion-peso fund releases for such opaque reasons as “for intelligence reform projects,”
P11.3 million; “to support program of expenditures,” P20 million; “to support program of expenditures,”
P51.5 million; “reclassification of other prepaid expenses for procurement service account,” P5.9 million, among
Cash advances worth P4.2 million
for local and foreign trips made by officers and employees of the DND from 12 years ago remain unliquidated as of December
2009, including P1.5 million of the P3.6 million issued to then Secretary Gilberto Teodoro for three foreign travel schedules.
Also listed with unliquidated cash advance of P346,490 is former Defense undersecretary Salvador Mison, and another P342,058,
a general reportedly in the running for the position of AFP chief of staff.
Cash advances worth P7.06 million remain
unliquidated as of December 2008 in the AFP, including over one million pesos each issued to three captains who are special
disbursing officers from the military’s Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) funds, and about a total of
P1.8 million issued to seven officers from the Personal Services (PS) fund that should pay for the salaries of soldiers.
Over P1 billion worth of transactions
by the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the period from January 2008
to September 2009 under former Governor Zaldy Ampatuan had inadequate, spurious or entirely non-existent support documents.
This was the central finding
in a 125-page report submitted last March 17 by a team of seven COA auditors to current ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong.
The team was composed of team
supervisor Elsielyn Masangcay; co-team leaders Florefe Avila and Grace de Castro; and members Marilyn Bibat, Gale Kathrine
Modesto, Joselita Corteza, and Dondon Marcos.
COA Director IV Susan Garcia approved
the report after a review of the findings by Director III Evelyn Reyes.
Auditors noted “total disregard
of applicable laws, rules and regulations are evident” in many of the transactions involving the questioned sum particularly
illustrated by grant of P866.51 million in cash advances which accounted to a whopping 80 percent of the total disbursements
of the governor’s office during that period.
While general rules require that
payments by government agencies be made through checks for reasons of security, COA reported “highly improbable daily
cash payments” ranging from P7 million to as high as P13.48 million.
“At one point, one accountable
officer was holding P99.88 million in cash, which may already be considered unconscionable in view of the risks involved in
maintaining such amount,” the team said.
Various purchases without any public
bidding totaled P650.98 million and were supported by three price quotations from various suppliers “without any indicated
addresses in most cases”.
Auditors discovered another
stunning detail – the said procurements were paid out of advances drawn by only one person, chief administrative officer
Adham G. Patadon, who was bonded for only P5 million.
Aside from Patadon, two other
individuals were extended cash advances far beyond their allowable limits namely administrative officer V Nelia Garde who
has a bond for only P1.5 million but held P83 million, while executive assistant VI Tahirodin Benzar Ampatuan drew P27 million
despite being bonded for only P500,000.
Together, the three of them drew
98.64% of all cash advances released by the ORG during the period in question amounting to P854.75 million.
Auditors noted that only P3.4
million out of P744.56 million released to Patadon had a specific purpose while the rest of the amount were simply described
as “operational expenses.”
A liaison office being maintained
by the ORG-ARMM in Metro Manila was found to have spent P29.26 million from January 2008 to September 2009.
COA said the satellite office, tasked
to perform “only coordination and liaison activities” occupied a suite in a building in Legazpi Village, Makati
City leased at P172,670 per month and employed 45 personnel of which only nine were regular backed up by 18 casual and 18
'Ampatuan, staff used spurious receipts
to reimburse P2.5 billion ARMM funds'
Detained former Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and at least 10 of his former staff used spurious receipts and invoices to support disbursements
of some P2.559 billion of regional funds
in 2008 and 2009, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).
In its Special Audit report, COA reported that
some transactions might be considered fictitious as these were supported with spurious receipts and invoices. The audit covered
the period of January 2008 to September
2009 and was conducted from Feb. 1 to Dec. 20, 2010.
While funds were released to settle obligations
of six line agencies of the ARMM, COA said officials of the Office of the Regional Governor, whose signatures appeared to
have been scanned by a computer, signed all documents supporting payments.
“There were no documents to prove that
the goods and services were received by the concerned six line agencies,” COA reported.
COA also found out that 10 alleged suppliers/business
establishments were not licensed
to operate at the ARMM at the time of the transactions while five others have questionable capability to deliver the reported
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse
Robredo said the COA findings would be used as basis of the filing of graft charges against Ampatuan and his former staff
Robredo cited the need to dig further into the
records on the use of funds in the ARMM following the audit made by COA and DILG showed that about P1 billion remained unaccounted
for in the past administration.
The P1 billion “unaccounted funds”
covered only the office of ARMM governor for the period of 2009-2010.
Robredo explained the COA is conducting four
audit reviews in ARMM alone, which cover among others, the ARMM governor, disbursements of social funds, and the use of funds
of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Robredo learned of the illegal use of funds
in the ARMM, ranging from cash advances amounting to some P800 million, to ghost purchases. He said even catering services
were fictitious, if not padded.
“Which is the reason why we wanted to
return ARMM in the state auditing. There appears to be no check and balance in the use and disposition of the ARMM funds.
The findings disclosed that there was a total disregard of budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations,”
Despite launching an all-out probe
into the alleged excessive perks and bonuses of board members and top officials of government-owned and -controlled corporations
(GOCC) and government financial institutions (GFIs), the Senate is now the subject of questionable allowances of some of its
The Commission on Audit (CoA)
is now looking into the alleged huge allowances being received not by the senators, but by some officials of the Senate.
In particular, the CoA is “raising
its eyebrows” on officials of the Senate secretariat who are regular employees but not assigned to any of the senators.
For instance, an official with
the rank of Director II and estimated salary of P27,000 is receiving more or less P33,000 in allowances monthly.
A Director III with salary grade
27 is entitled to receive allowances amounting to P58,000 per month though his estimated pay is only pegged at P28,000.
On the other hand, officials with
the rank of Director V, with salary grade 29, earns P30,000 and receives an allowance of more than P77,000 monthly.
The 11 Senate executives with
the rank of Director VI and salary grade 30 are receive P34,000 monthly salary and allowances amounting to P104,000.
This group includes the Senate
Sergeant-at-Arms, legal counsel, deputy secretaries, and director generals of various offices.
But on top of the list is Senate
Secretary Atty. Emma Reyes who, at salary grade 31, is allegedly receiving a monthly stipend that is at par with senators.
According to the CoA report, the
Senate Secretary receives a salary of about P48,000 and an allowance of P219,000 every month.
The CoA said it is now looking
into the allowances of the Senate executives which are based on a 2005 estimate of the Department of Budget and Management
This came on the heels of CoA’s
earlier question on the budgetary releases to Sen. Panfilo Lacson who has been in hiding for the past nine months after being
hounded by a murder case.
When asked to comment on the issue,
Sen. Francis Escudero said it is possible that the allowances of Senate officials are bigger than what senators are receiving.
“That is actually possible.
That is really our problem because that is in the law. We cannot increase our (senators) pay. I’ve been in Congress
for 12 years. I cannot file a bill or support a bill or vote for a bill increasing our salaries because that would not look
good and that would be inappropriate,” Escudero said.
“But so many measures increasing
the salaries of government employees have already been passed because we cannot benefit from the own bills that we filed.
So that is really possible. It is not surprising, I think even an ordinary undersecretary receives higher pay than what we
are getting,” Escudero said
COA report bares misuse of P39.8M in Vizcaya funds
Philippine Daily Inquirer - 10/09/2010
Commission on Audit (COA) has revealed the alleged misuse of, at least, P39.8 million in Special Education Fund (SEF) that
was supposed to support the province’s education programs in 2009.
In its annual audit report, a COA team said the manner by which the amount was spent violated the Local Government
Code because the specific items for which the money was used was not listed.
COA said the spending did not conform with the province’s annual investment plan for 2009. Such practice,
said COA, defeats “the purpose of planning or budgeting as required by law.” Real property taxes are used for
COA said the SEF should be allocated for the “operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and
repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books, and sports development”
as determined and approved by the Local School Board (LSB)...
By Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9/25/2010
Government offices have not implemented nearly half of the Commission
on Audit’s (COA’s) recommendations on improving their records and the prudent use of funds in 2009, the watchdog
on accountability has disclosed.
Surprisingly, the COA, which keeps track of irresponsible spending and questionable practices in government agencies,
has also found lapses in its own backyard.
In its audit report on itself, the COA found that nearly half of its 63,771 recommendations were yet to be enforced.
In its 2009 report, COA said that 30,926 of its recommendations had yet to be implemented. Only 17,691 had been
fully implemented, it noted, and 15,154 partially implemented.
Among those ignored was the recommendation that certain incentives and bonuses given out by government offices
should be disallowed, other COA reports showed.
The COA also produced 35,228 audit and cash examination reports, 6,306 of them annual audit reports. Another 9,979
were cash examination reports and 18,943 were audit reports on barangays.
In its internal audit, COA found that the chance of it collecting P574,322 in receivables was remote, the
accounts having lain dormant for five to 29 years. The people who should pay the amounts have also left the COA.
These receivables consist of, among others, payment for training manuals, seminar fees, lost reading materials,
incidental expenses, dormitory fees and rental fees. Another reason for the difficulty in collecting the amount is the lack
of available records to support the claims.
COA wants write off
The COA has requested that it write off the long outstanding receivables, because the possibility of collecting
them is nil.
The COA also found that the collections of its Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) office were not consistently
deposited daily and intact as required in the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual, thus exposing government funds to
possible loss or misuse.
But the acting cashier in the CAR office explained that she was unable to deposit the collections daily because
her office was manned by only one person.
The cashier is also tasked with preparing the monthly reports and of remitting all monthly dues of utilities and
other bills. Travel to the bank would also take at least one and a half hours, meaning that depositing the collections would
take three to four hours per day. This makes it impossible for her to deposit the collections daily.
The audit also found the COA office in Region 4 accumulated P262,152 worth of undelivered purchases, which deprived
the office of immediate use of necessary supplies and materials.
Five regional offices also failed to conduct a physical count of its property, plant and equipment (PPE) or to
prepare the corresponding report, thus the existence of P155.639 million worth of PPE could not be ascertained, the COA also
The audit agency also found that its Region III office building in the Pampanga Capitol Compound remained unused
for 14 years after lahar and floodwater hit the province in 1995. It said that this exposed the building to further deterioration.
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