Premature conclusions
HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2019 - 12:00am

More often than not, we read in the news about various quarters citing audit reports by the Commission on Audit accusing a certain office or person of funds mismanagement, even if the reports are not yet final.

Just recently, COA warned against the use of these audit reports or releasing them to the public, saying there is a process being followed by the agency before the existence of fraud, waste or abuse is finally decided.

COA explained that these audit reports are submitted by its auditors on an annual basis, after conducting audits for transactions made on a particular calendar year. This is done to ascertain the propriety and validity of disbursements and receipts, and obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatements.

Post audit, COA renders an auditor’s opinion, which merely determines whether the financial statements conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and if these fairly represent the entity’s financial accounts. This opinion, it emphasized, does not judge the financial position of the reporting entity, nor does it otherwise interpret accounting data.

If the financial records do violate GAAP rules and contain material misstatements, then the auditor gives what is called an adverse opinion. If the auditor is unable to complete an audit due to lack of financial records or insufficient cooperation from the government entity, COA will issue a disclaimer of opinion to indicate that no opinion over the financial statements could be reasonably rendered.

In its opinion, COA identifies and advises the concerned officials of such problems and then work with them to correct problems. Implementation of these so-called “corrections” in the previous years’ audit recommendations are also included in the COA annual audit reports.

COA suggested that when citing COA reports, one should read subsequent audit reports to provide full picture of these transactions.

Source of Filipino pride

Filipinos love sports.

Sports has and continues to be a source of pride for the country and its people. They say that everytime there is a huge sporting event, like during boxing matches of Manny Pacquiao, the crime rate goes down. It unifies us.

When I was in Warsaw and Berlin a few weeks back, the cab drivers do not know who the President of the Philippines is but they know Pacquiao. In Amsterdam, one sports bar had posters of our pambansang kamao all over the place.

Businesses have thrown their all-out support to Philippine sports. Whether it be basketball, volleyball, boxing, football, every business wants to support a team in whatever way they can.

This is probably the reason why no less than President Duterte has directed all government agencies and GOCCs to extend their full support to the Philippine SEA Games Organizational Committee Foundation (Phisgoc)in the preparation, organization and holding of the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games, one event in which the country always performs well. Phisgoc is chaired by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. The President even approved additional funds of P1 billion for the SEA Games upon Cayetano’s request.

Cayetano presented before the President during a Cabinet meeting last May the progress of the preparations for the SEA Games, including the construction of major infrastructure facilities where the events will be held, such as the Athletics Stadium, Aquatics Center and the Athletics Village.

According to Cayetano, the President agreed to augment the current budget of the SEA Games because he understood the importance of the SEA games to the Filipino athletes and its long-term benefits to the tourism and economic sectors in the country. Congress’s budget for the SEA Games was P5 billion.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Procurement Service will be tapped to allow for faster and more efficient procurement of goods, supplies, sports equipment and service contractors for the SEA Games. This would also ensure that the funds are well spent.

Apparently, the Duterte administration does not want a repeat of what happened in 2005, when certain officials failed to liquidate funds allocated for the SEA Games hosted by the Philippines that year.

The country has only four months to complete its preparations for the SEA Games and mount this grand event. I hope that people stop politicizing this event because our country, our people, and our athletes just want a successful holding of the event.

All’s well that ends well

Okada Manila under its new leadership has recorded an impressive performance as it posted $46 million in earnings in the first half of 2019 alone.

The casino resort and hotel complex has also unveiled expansion plans which include opening additional hotel rooms, sprucing up its restaurants, and plying out retail offerings.

This integrated resort has finally been able to get out of the dark shadows cast by its founder and namesake, Japan’s pachinko king Kazuo Okada, who is still battling lawsuits left and right here and abroad.
Just recently, the Tokyo High Court denied his appeal to nullify a lower court decision that upheld an agreement between Okada’s children, Hiromi and Tomohiro, that had paved the way for their father’s ouster in the board of Hong Kong-based Okada Holdings, which holds the majority shares of Tokyo-listed Universal Entertainment Corp. (UEC).

Okada Manila is owned by Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. which, in turn, is a subsidiary of UEC.
According to news reports, Okada’s daughter Hiromi assigned her voting rights to her brother, Tomohiro, and even sold her shares in Okada Holdings. Tomohiro was able to muster a combined 53 percent voting rights in Okada Holdings to boot out his father from both the UEC and TRLEI.
In 2018, the elder Okada filed a civil case in a Philippine court in his bid to be reinstalled as director of Okada Manila but he failed. TRLEI argued that the suit had no legal leg to stand on since Okada owns no TRLEI shares and had no right to be voted into the firm’s board of directors.

Media has also reported that the elder Okada has an outstanding arrest warrant from the Paranaque RTC for alleged misuse of over $3.1 million in company funds. He likewise has several criminal and civil suits in Japan, Hong Kong and the United States.

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