COA questions PCOO misuse of 2017 Asean summit funds
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has chided the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for its failure to account for P38.8 million allocated for the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in 2017.
In a report, the COA said the PCOO, headed by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, had yet to comment on any of its nine recommendations in connection with the questionable disbursements, which represent 17.7 percent of the total audited Asean fund worth P219.24 million.
The audit body said the PCOO also violated the government procurement law after it spent the P38.8 million but failed to conduct a “postqualification evaluation.”
The COA previously called out the PCOO for its rental of information technology equipment for P4 million that was found to be more expensive than its selling price by P964,872.
Handmade soaps, bags
It also questioned the payments for various goods and services, and the lease of vehicles for the total amount of P34.76 million.
These goods included handmade soaps and bags, as well as jackets and umbrellas for the summit.
The COA said this was in violation of its Circular No. 76-41, which prohibits “splitting” in government procurement.
In its earlier report, the audit body sought an explanation from the PCOO and recommended that the latter investigate the contracts awarded to suppliers and to file charges against erring officials who may have favored particular suppliers.
The COA said the PCOO had yet to follow through with its recommendations.
It also flagged the P778.9 million the PCOO spent as part of the Asean fund for lack of supporting documents.
The office received a total of P2.19 billion from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Budget and Management in 2016 and 2017 for its roles in the summit.
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