COA bares questionable use of senator’s PDAF for trade fair
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has uncovered alleged irregularities in the use of pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of a female senator for a trade fair in 2013.

In a 2014 report released yesterday, state auditors said the legislator – not identified by name except for the pronoun ‘her’ – gave P4 million to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

The money was meant to finance a so-called Indigenous Peoples HIBLA event in 2013 but P455,990 of the total amount was allegedly used contrary to COA Circular No. 94-013.

State auditors said the expenses “were deemed irregular and unnecessary” because it was the office of the senator that undertook the procurement instead of the CITEM as implementing agency.

The COA report said the procurement process for various expenses and selection and/or endorsement of suppliers for expenses were undertaken by the lawmaker’s office as the source agency.

Records showed that the office of the senator required CITEM to pay the suppliers for the expenses while certain expenses were reimbursed by the senator herself.

“The procurement process and payment of the expenses in the amount of P401,990 were also not in consonance with the provisions of RA 9184 (Procurement Law) on small value procurement/negotiation,” the COA report said, citing the absence of purchase requests, job orders, and quotations/canvass from at least three suppliers.

State auditors said documents stating the purpose and agreement with media recipients for the grant of gift checks, proof of delivery of required service by media recipients and acknowledgement receipt by the recipients of the gift checks were also absent.

The audit team said a check payment for reimbursement of expenses for gift checks in the amount of P54,000 was found payable to the senator not to the supplier, “hence, may be considered as an irregular transaction.”

State auditors directed CITEM to submit a justification for the non-compliance with COA Circular No. 94-013 as well as the required supporting documents for expenses in the amount of P455,990.

The audit team also instructed the agency to discontinue the practice of allowing the source agency to process the procurement and selection of suppliers for expenses to be paid by it as implementing agency and stop reimbursing the source agency for expenses advanced by the same.

In response to COA’s findings, CITEM’s executive director told the audit team that he has informed the senator’s office that the amount of P455,990 was not allowed in audit and requested for submission of documents required by COA.

State auditors, however, noted that a review of documents submitted disclosed that the same still failed to show compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 9184 on small value procurement and/or negotiated procurement.

ACIRC AGENCY CIRCULAR NO COA EXPENSES INDIGENOUS PEOPLES INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXPOSITIONS AND MISSIONS PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND PROCUREMENT PROCUREMENT LAW REPUBLIC ACT
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