PCGG execs, employees have P6.7 M in unliquidated cash advances

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2008 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Officials and employees of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) had racked up P6.778 million in unliquidated cash advances, mostly for official travel and other litigation expenses.

This was uncovered by the Commission on Audit in its review of the 2007 finances of the PCGG.

“Examination of the said balances revealed that most of the advances were for official travels of officers and employees and advances for litigation and other related expenses,” COA said.

PCGG sources said it usually takes time for officials to present such expenses to auditors for liquidation.

Of the P6.778 million, more than half or P3.429 million has remained unliquidated for three years or longer in violation of government rules on cash advances.

COA pointed out that based on regulations, cash advances for official foreign travels should be liquidated within 60 days upon return. For official local travels, the liquidation period should be within 30 days of the end of the trip.

“The amounts which have been outstanding for more than three years were advances of previous officers and employees who are no longer connected with PCGG,” COA reported.

PCGG has filed a request for the write-off of as much as P1.9 million in unliquidated cash advances.

“We recommend that management require the accountable officials/personnel to immediately liquidate their outstanding cash advances. Failure on the part of the concerned officials/employees to liquidate the same shall be a ground for withholding of their salaries and other benefits due them as provided in the circular,” COA said.

Earlier, PCGG Commissioner and officer-in-charge Narciso Nario announced his intention to cut down the size of PCGG contingent in official foreign travels.

Nario assumed the commission’s top post last week upon the start of the indefinite leave of absence of chairman Camilo Sabio.

Nario noted that as one of two commissioners handling litigation, he has not joined any foreign trips. 

Mandatory status report

The PCGG may also soon require government-appointed nominees in sequestered firms to report regularly on the status of government assets under their supervision.

Nario said the tack is expected to deter dissipation of government assets due to mismanagement or even corruption.

“As PCGG nominees, they should inform us about what is happening in these various sequestered and surrendered companies so that we can make sure that government assets are not dissipated,” Nario told The STAR.

Nario said the PCGG is crafting guidelines on the regular mandatory status report.

Nario said that the Supreme Court had upheld the power of government nominees in sequestered and surrendered companies to conduct audit.

“These nominees usually sit as members of the board of directors. Under the law, the President appoints them and because these are sequestered or surrendered assets, the PCGG is mandated to supervise them and that includes the nominees,” Nario said.

Currently, Nario said that they do not get regular updates from these nominees on the status of sequestered companies and corporations.

Nario said that the PCGG will summon the nominees to brief them on their new duties.

“I started scheduling consultations. I started with Baseco.” Baseco stands for Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corp.

“We’ll have a special meeting with members of the board and discuss PCGG’s supervisory powers,” Nario said.

The Bataan provincial government is claiming ownership of Baseco, saying it acquired the firm in 1988 through an auction it conducted to collect unpaid real estate taxes. Baseco has a P4-billion 350-hectare property in Mariveles, Bataan.

In 2005, the property was reported to have been contributing roughly P120 million a year in taxes to the province.

Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez, a brother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, used to own the property.


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