COA: Quezon town’s P12-M payment for water system disallowed
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has affirmed a notice of disallowance (ND) previously issued to a P12.11 million payment made by officials of Pitogo, Quezon province, for the construction of the town’s water supply system.
According to COA’s decision dated Sept. 16, the petition for review filed by former Mayor Domingo Tan and other Pitogo local government unit (LGU) officials was denied because they failed to provide documents deemed necessary by the auditing team.
The transaction flagged by COA was the P12.11 million payment made by the Pitogo LGU to MG Salazar Corp. in 2003.
The first notice of disallowance was issued last May 2009 against Tan, municipal accountant officer-in-charge Rosemarie Martinez, municipal accountant Rosebelle Forbes, project engineer Ellezer Ingente, and MG Salazar’s Ernesto Salazar.
COA said that the “absence of the required documents cited in the ND” has prevented audit teams from making a “complete determination and evaluation of the legality of the transaction.”
“The non-submission of the documents which are necessary to establish the legitimacy and regularity/legality of the transaction is a ground to disallow the transaction,” COA noted in the decision signed by Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Roland Pondoc.
This, the commission said, violates COA Circular No. 76-64, which orders government units conducting a major public works project to give auditing teams assigned in the specific agency a copy of the contract and other corresponding documents.
The petitioners’ liability, meanwhile, was found in various sections of Presidential Decree No. 1445 and Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
The officials claimed that they did not receive the notice of disallowance, which prevented them from reacting to the issue — prompting the audit team leader and the supervising auditor to serve the notice again, in September 2013.
“On account of petitioners’ supposed non-receipt of the ND, they were again served copies thereof in September 2013,” COA said.
“Thus, there was enough time for the petitioners to produce vital supporting documents of the project. However, the same have not been submitted and the audit findings have not been satisfactorily explained up to this time,” it explained.
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