CoA questions Congress’ failure to use P18M equipmentBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives had failed to use some P18 million worth of equipment which it purchased during the time of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., according to the 2010 Commission on Audit (CoA) report that was belatedly posted this month on its website.
The CoA report claimed that equipment for biometric electronic plenary voting and X-ray baggage inspection, and a walk-through metal detector have remained unused since these were purchased during De Venecia’s term.
The electronic voting apparatus, which could be used to immediately resolve controversies over House decisions on vital legislative measures and uphold the presence of a quorum, was purchased at P14,776,785.61 while the X-ray baggage inspection machine and the walk-through metal detector cost about P3.3 million.
CoA auditors reminded the House leadership that they could be held liable for not using the equipment.
The House security personnel claimed that the two state-of-the-art detection machines have been put to use, starting this year.
“While we appreciate the advantages that the equipment could give, we wonder why its installation and utilization were not prioritized by the present administration?” the CoA said in its report.
The CoA further asked the House leadership to explain why the equipment have not been used, adding that the chamber should provide “concrete plans” to put them to use immediately.
Purchased from the Infobahn Communications Inc. during the term of De Venecia, the biometric electronic voting apparatus/system has been put in place in the plenary hall but was never used since.
Reports at that time had quoted De Venecia as complaining that the computerized voting system suffered a serious computer glitch before it could even be used.
This finding was confirmed by De Venecia’s successor, 14th Congress Speaker Prospero Nograles.
The CoA report did not say whether or not full payment was actually made.
On the plus side, the CoA congratulated House officials for successfully reducing unliquidated cash advances from over P16.536 million in 2009 to P10.94 million the following year. Of the total still unjustified cash advances of P10.9 million, a total of P2,388,028.06 belonged to incumbent congressmen.
Tags: biometric electronic plenary voting , Commission On Audit , Congress , Government , Government Procurement , House of Representatives , Jose de Venecia Jr. , News , walk-in metal detector , X-ray baggage inspection