In an annual audit report posted on its website yesterday, the COA said that the OSG spent a total of P7,128,374.84 on airplane tickets, which were “not supported by complete documents” in violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and COA Circular 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012.
COA questions OSG foreign trip expenses
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) over its airfare expenses for foreign trips in 2018 amounting to P7.128 million.

In an annual audit report posted on its website yesterday, the COA said that the OSG spent a total of P7,128,374.84 on airplane tickets, which were “not supported by complete documents” in violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and COA Circular 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012.

For one, the audit body said the airplane expenses for the OSG lawyers’ foreign trips were not supported by quotations from at least three travel agencies in violation of COA Circular 2012-001. The OSG is representing the government in litigations both local and abroad.

“In addition, some itinerants were allowed to reimburse their airplane ticket without the price quotation and abstract of quotations attached to the claim,” the COA report read.

Furthermore, the COA said the OSG resorted to small-value purchase also referred to as “shopping” even without the approval or recommendation of its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to adopt such mode of procurement. 

The COA also called out the OSG for its local training expenses, amounting to P1,270,312.50, as these were held in hotels and restaurants that do not have a tie-up with the government.

“The seminars/trainings could have been done in the office premises, government facilities or in hotels and restaurants used for government sponsored international conventions, meetings and the like that would charge lower costs. There were also no attendance sheet and some have no list of participants attached, in direct contravention to Number 6 of Section 4 of PD 1445,” the COA report read.

Furthermore, the audit body said honoraria payments totaling P105,471.18 were released to the seminar/training speakers and lecturers despite incomplete supporting documents such as the event coordinator’s report on lecturer’s schedule as well as the course syllabus or seminar program, among others.

Office supplies, equipment

In the same audit report, COA flagged the OSG’s procurement of office supplies and equipment amounting to P5,510,697.92

It noted that the supplies and equipment were purchased through “shopping” even when no Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP) was ever posted in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) website.

The COA pointed out that while the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act allows the procuring entity to dispense with the advertisement in the newspaper, when it comes to alternative mode of procurement the posting of RFQ or RFP in PhilGEPS website is still required.

It also noted in its report that, during the exit interview, the OSG management promised to “strictly comply” with the recommendation to post procurement opportunities in the PhilGEPS website as well as in the premises of the OSG in its future procurements.

COMMISSION ON AUDIT OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
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