COA drafts new rules on audit of intel funds


MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Audit is drafting new guidelines to ensure that government intelligence funds are carefully scrutinized and not simply approved by rote, COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan has said.

At the same time, the state audit agency has embarked on its own housecleaning, Tan said in a recent forum conducted by the Philippine Information Agency.

Tan said changes were being made at COA and these include reminding state auditors not to accept perks from the government agencies they are auditing and abolishing the pre-audit practice.

Tan said that in the audit of intelligence funds, all that is submitted to COA are certifications that particular amounts were spent for particular intelligence activities.

She said that if COA would base its audit on just the certification, then it would be better not to conduct an audit at all.

“What we review has to have substance,” Tan said. “Right now, if you have 80 percent of funds supported only by certification, I don’t think it makes any sense to conduct an audit.”

Tan said she was coming up with draft rules on the audit of intelligence funds that would specify the kinds of documents the COA would need.

She said she understood that there were intelligence-related expenses that could not be disclosed without compromising national security.

Thus, she said, before coming up with guidelines on intelligence funds she would consult with the government agencies concerned for their input on how to keep things confidential.

The COA also recently issued a circular reminding auditors of the rule against accepting benefits from offices they are auditing.

Tan said the circular was prompted by reports that some auditors had asked for cars, housing accommodations and other benefits from the agencies they were auditing.

As for the pre-audit, which is the practice of subjecting select government transactions to COA scrutiny and approval before these are entered into or implemented, Tan said she decided to do away with it because it had not brought much benefit.

A pre-audit is meant to ensure that transactions are aboveboard right from the start.

But Tan said the COA has received complaints the process had spawned instances where auditors had asked for something in return for approving a project.

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  • Anonymous

    Congress has to pass a law to give more teeth to COA.

  • Maria Cela

    Sa wakas nagkaroonrin  rin ng may matinong pagiisip na sabihin na ang isang certification lamang to support intel funds ay hindi enough. Iyang procedure na yan ng COA na certification lang  ay actually isang palusot lamang dahil ang aking pansin ay ito ay isang  malaking source ng dilihensya na walang  sabit both ang COA at ang taga govt agency. Mga kumita na at the same time wlang responsibility at accountabity. Minsan ang mga taga COA pa ang nagrerecommend ng mga palusot.  

  • Anonymous

    COA auditors should be beyond reproach. They should have the cleanest hands in government–if we expect to really clean up the system and make real progress in the all-out war against graft and corruption. I reiterate my earlier suggestion: make the COA disallowance reports as transparent as possible along with the corrective remedial measures taken by those concerned. Best way to do this is through the websites of government agencies, including the COA. This will expand its Fraud Alert as seen on the COA website. Also, if the PNP and the military have such practices as “three-strikes and you’re out”, the same should be applied to COA auditors. In fact, COA should be more stringent. After all, COA prides itself as the country’s Supreme Audit Institution”–unless of course these are just mere words, signifying nothing.

  • isko daya

    Intelligence fund is the most abused fund since it is not subjected to audit. From national offices to local governments. Imagine a city could allot P300M for this or a small town could earmark tens of millions. What is awry with the allocation is the unproductive result. Anywhere in towns, cities or barangays, rebels or terrorist exists without any report reaching the proper authorities. Police stations get raided, rebels launch offensive against unprepared military elements and kidnappings are staged by armed groups with victims including policemen or soldiers. The intelligence caper is growing and unabated.

    Soldiers were dead and some were beheaded. If someone would just look at the local government intelligence funds, I’m sure its substantial. If the military or police benefited from it, it could be another story. This is the common situation in rebel and terrorist infested areas.

    Maybe a body composed of trustworthy mammals should be organized to monitor and evaluate the intelligence funds of all government units, national or local.

  • TagaDumantay

    Pnoy should create a team of mixed highly intelligent people to look as a third party with new perspective of recommending to improve government process. Their job shall be simply look on the process and brainstorm how to make it more effective. Leave the current bureaucracy to do its current operating functions and this new group as the think tank. It will be co terminus with the President and justly compensated. Its just like Management Initiatives for Job Excellence.

  • Anonymous

    Auditors are receiving monthly “under the table allowance” from agencies and LGUs they served. In the barangay level, they have what they call their “PRIVATE ACCOUNTING FIRM” which charges 3 to 4 thousand per month for the processing of barangay documents, to include liquidation of Punong Barangays Cash Advances. This Private Accounting Firm are people of the Auditor, and when asked about this, they deny. When Punong Barangays makes their own liquidation, it is always wrong. Punong Barangays are forced to give P4,000 per month just to get an Accountants Advice for their check. Question, what happen to the seminar given by the COA, when they have their own people to do the job of the concerned Barangay Officials for a fee? (Mun./City Accountants give a signed Accountants Advice to this Accounting firm.)

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