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COA asks Palace employee to pay for P.3-M lost laptop

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Audit (COA) has asked an employee of the Presidential Broadcast Staff (PBS) to pay for a laptop and teleprompting accessories that were lost prior to President Aquino’s out-of-town activity last year.

State auditors, in a report released over the weekend, said the PBS staff member, whose identity was not revealed, must pay for the equipment valued at P344,599.

Records show that the laptop with teleprompting accessories was issued to a teleprompter operator through an Acknowledgement Receipt of Equipment (ARE) in April 2011. 

In December of that year, the female employee filed a leave of absence due to a difficult pregnancy and another employee borrowed the equipment from her.

There was no actual property turnover of the equipment before the employee filed a temporary leave of absence based on the ARE on file, the COA report stated.

Records show that the employee who borrowed the equipment left it in a bag near her table at the office a day before the President’s out-of-town activity in June 2012.

The bag could no longer be found the following day but the incident was not reported to the guard on duty.

Efforts to locate the missing PBS property after the trip also proved futile, according to the COA report.

State auditors said a request from relief of accountability was submitted last January, but it was denied due to the failure of the employee to whom the equipment was issued to secure a police or investigation report and the negligence of the person who was in custody of the equipment at the time it was lost.        

The audit team said the responsible employee should be made to pay for the notebook computer and its teleprompting accessories while urging the PBS management to “observe due diligence in the safekeeping of equipment” to avoid loss of government property.

Citing provisions of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, the COA report noted that “every officer accountable for government property shall be liable for its money value in case of improper or unauthorized use or misapplication thereof, by himself or any person for whose acts he may be responsible.”

“He shall likewise be liable for all losses, damages, or deterioration occasioned by negligence in the keeping or use of the property, whether or not it be at the time in his actual custody,” the rules state.

Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operation Office heads the PBS.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT RECEIPT OF EQUIPMENT

EMPLOYEE

EQUIPMENT

GOVERNMENT AUDITING CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES

IN DECEMBER

PBS

PRESIDENT AQUINO

PRESIDENTIAL BROADCAST STAFF

SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATION OFFICE

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