COA flags Office of the President’s P1.4-B idle funds
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Office of the President (OP) for not using some P1.41 billion in donated monies that are part of the President’s Social Fund (PSF).
In its annual audit report, the COA said President Rodrigo Duterte’s office could have used the amount to help calamity victims, put up livelihood projects or for land reform.
“Guidelines and work and financial plan for the utilization of the donations amounting to P1,412,943,850.00 intended for projects in economic development in accordance with the national priority plan … were not formulated, hence, benefits that could have been derived therefrom were not attained,” the report said.
According to state auditors, the P1.41-billion fund came from a 1990 compromise agreement between the Presidential Commission on Good Government and Meralco Foundation Inc., which used to be owned by the Lopez family, that settled a dispute involving 27,776,557 common shares of Meralco stock.
COA explained that Benpres Corp., represented by its president Eugenio Lopez Jr., executed in August 1990 a deed of donation giving 3,333,333 Meralco shares to the OP.
The Arroyo administration then sold the shares to the Government Service Insurance System in 2008, and placed the P1.4-billion proceeds in the PSF. The amount has since earned P29,629,241.64 in interest.
The audit body had previously urged the OP to formulate guidelines for the use of the funds, but it has since remained idle.
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