‘COA granted OVP under Robredo’s appeal on audit findings’

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
âCOA granted OVP under Robredoâs appeal on audit findingsâ
Former vice president of the Philippines atty. Leni Robredo delivers her speech for the launch of the Angat Buhay Pilipinas NGO at the Leni-Kiko volunteer center in Katipunan on July 1, 2022. Robredo shares her team's plans going forward as well as thanking her supporters for volunteering on events.
Philstar.com / Deejae Dumlao

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has granted the appeal of the office of then vice president Leni Robredo regarding its report that flagged the hiring of a private lawyer, former OVP spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez yesterday clarified the audit findings on the OVP’s budget utilization last year, particularly the hiring of a lawyer as consultant without authorization from the Office of the Solicitor General.

“The matter was appealed by the OVP to the COA on 27 May 2022 and the appeal was granted on 29 June 2022, effectively lifting the Notice of Disallowance considering the absence of bad faith, malice or gross negligence in the transaction. It is now currently undergoing automatic review by the commission,” Gutierrez said.

“In its appeal, OVP maintained that the consultant was engaged and worked primarily as a key adviser on policy matters, and not as a lawyer; hence, should not be covered by the COA circular,” he added.

Gutierrez said Robredo, upon her assumption as vice president in 2016, made a written request to the Office of the President to establish positions for a core group of policy advisers, including the consultant in question.

Malacañang, however, never acted on the request.

State auditors earlier issued a Notice of Disallowance compelling the OVP to return the disbursed amounts for the legal consultant and three other private lawyers.

COA’s record showed that one of the private lawyers was hired as “Consultant for Partnership Building and Policy Advocacy for Rural Development” with a monthly salary of P76,907 while two others were hired as “Executive Consultant for Strategic Communications” and “Regulatory Compliance Consultant” respectively, with a monthly salary of P161,231 each.



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