The COA, in its 2018 audit report on PCOO, noted that the agency has yet to implement its earlier recommendation to identify the officials involved in the alleged illegal disbursements and to file the appropriate criminal charges.
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COA reminds PCOO to address illegal Asean summit disbursements
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has called out the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for failing to take action on the alleged anomalous disbursements amounting to P38.8 million for the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila in 2017.

The COA, in its 2018 audit report on PCOO, noted that the agency has yet to implement its earlier recommendation to identify the officials involved in the alleged illegal disbursements and to file the appropriate criminal charges.

The audit body said that while PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar issued memoranda dated March 15 and April 4, 2018 ordering an investigation on the alleged illegal disbursements, no update has been given to the audit team regarding the status or result of the supposed investigation.

In its 2017 audit report on the PCOO, the audit body said a total of P38,807,125.40 of the PCOO’s disbursements for the rental of IT equipment and vehicles as well as the procurement of several goods and services in connection with its role in the hosting of the ASEAN summit have violated the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The PCOO had been assigned to chair the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications for the 2017 ASEAN summit, in which it was tasked to facilitate media coverage and disseminate information to the public regarding ASEAN events.

For one, the COA said the government could have saved a total of P964,872 had the PCOO opted to purchase brand new IT equipment at a total cost of P3,074,268 instead of renting IT equipment for two to five months which cost the government P4,039,140.

COA said the PCOO also split the contracts for the purchase of various goods and services amounting to P27.503 million and rental of vans at P7.264 million in order to do away with public bidding and circumvent spending limits in violation of the government procurement rules.

COA added that all the eight purchase orders for the rental of vans were awarded to a single contractor. 

COA, in its 2018 audit report, retained its previous year’s stand that the disbursements violated RA 9184, “including failure to conduct post-qualification evaluation.”

Furthermore, the audit body said a total of P3 million in cash advances/travel advances charged to the ASEAN fund have yet to be liquidated by the PCOO.

COA also said expenses worth P778.893 million still lack supporting documents.

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS 2017 COMMISSION ON AUDIT PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE
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