Tommy raps city treasurer
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - October 4, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Former Cebu City mayor and Cebu south district congressman Tomas Osmeña has filed 12 administrative complaints against City Treasu-rer Diwa Cuevas before the Civil Service Commission-7.

The complaints, which asked for Cuevas’ termination, stemmed from the 2012 Commission on Audit report rendering an “adverse opinion” following the “irregularity, insufficiency and omissions on the various records” of the city government’s transactions at the time Cuevas headed the Accounting Department.

“All of these are easy to prove because we are using the COA report. She’s very central to all the anomalies in the budgeting and fictitious income, etcetera. I filed a complaint to get her terminated. I want her out,” Osmeña said in a press conference he called for.

The complaints were filed last week and copies were also furnished to Cuevas Wednesday.

Based on the COA findings, several disbursements were unrecorded as of December 31, 2012 resulting in the understatement of several expense accounts and the overstatement of the Cash in Bank Account by P17.75 million, making information on account balances unreliable.

This is contrary to Section 111 (2) of Presidential Decree No. 1445 provides that, “the highest standards of honesty, objectivity and consistency shall be observed in the keeping of accounts to safeguard against inaccurate or misleading information.”

The balances of the Cash in Vault Accounts, Cash in Bank-Local Currency, Current Account under the General Fund and due to PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, BIR account of the GF in the total amount of P18,783,363 were reportedly not reliable due to the negative balances that adversely affected the fairness of the presentation of the financial statements.

A total of P621,872 stale checks remained as reconciling items in the Bank Reconciliation Statements at yearend, which resulted to the understatement of the Cash in Bank, Local Currency, Current Account balance as of December 31 of the said year.

COA recommended the Accounting Office to then prepare the necessary entries showing the correct balances of the accounts affected and to ensure the completeness of the supporting documents before forwarding the disbursement voucher for the preparation of the checks.

COA also noted that cash advances of disbursing officers totaling P8,259,688 remained unliquidated, pointing out that additional advances were granted even with the pending unreconciled accounts, in violation of COA Circular No. 97-002 dated February 10, 1997.

COA also said cash advances for travel were not also liquidated, resulting in the accumulation of unsettled amount of P1,650,947. P1,414,536. These advances were also erroneously debited to due accounts from officers and employees, which do not conform to COA Circular No. 2007-002 dated January 19, 2007.

“It is clear and unequivocal from the report of COA that the (former) city accountant (Cuevas) did not comply with the foregoing provisions of the law which runs counter with the long time prince ‘The Public Office is a Public Trust,’ thus Cuevas had circumvented the required duties, obligations and conduct expected of a public officer,” Osmeña’s complaint read.

Osmeña said Mayor Michael Rama cannot protect Cuevas from possible termination. Also, he is planning to file criminal case against Cuevas if the administrative complaints will not prosper.

In a separate interview, Cuevas said the former mayor cannot just point fingers and blame other people for the adverse opinion of COA.

“Dili ko i-blame kay I did not fabricate anything,” she said.

For three consecutive years since 2011, she pointed out, that COA has been rendering adverse opinions against the city government, not solely in 2012 when she headed the accounting office.

The accounting department was headed by Marietta Gumia in 2011 and Mark Solomon in 2013.

“Ngano ako ra man ang file-lan?” she asked.

Cuevas said the problem cannot be solved until the beginning balances and records will be reconciled, adding they have been asking COA how to aid the said balances to reconcile the disparity of figures.  — /BRP (FREEMAN)

ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICE BANK ACCOUNT BANK RECONCILIATION STATEMENTS CIRCULAR NO COA CUEVAS CURRENT ACCOUNT OSME
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