COA flags OVP on equipment purchase worth P668,000 | Inquirer News

COA flags OVP on equipment purchase worth P668,000

/ 05:42 AM July 04, 2023

COA flags OVP on equipment purchase worth P668,000

Vice President Sara Duterte (File photo from the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for failing to observe procurement rules when it bought equipment to fast-track the establishment of its satellite offices at the start of Vice President Sara Duterte’s term.

In its annual audit report for the fiscal year 2022 and released June 29, state auditors noted the OVP’s purchase of semi-expandable equipment using funds from its officers, whom it later reimbursed.


Moreover, the receipts for these purchases worth P668,197 were reported only about one to three months after the purchase, which raised questions on accountability over the property, the agency said.


While the OVP provided a quotation to ensure they bought the equipment at the lowest market price, its “failure to undergo these purchases in processes and procedures required under Republic Act No. 9184… defeats the purpose of the procurement law, which is to standardize and to improve transparency in the procurement processes,” the COA said.

Under the procurement law, also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, government agencies are mandated to undergo competitive bidding only for purchases P1 million and above.

As for small-value procurement of goods, the law states that “shopping may be resorted to [when, for example] there is an unforeseen contingency requiring immediate purchase” — provided that the amount does not exceed P50,000.

When COA auditors asked the OVP why it resorted to reimbursements—which are not explicitly stipulated in the procurement law — it said it wanted to “immediately expand [its] services… to various provinces.”

However, “the immediate establishment of OVP’s SOs (satellite offices) without a standardized and streamlined process in handling and reporting of acquired PPE (plant, property and equipment) resulted in late reporting and recording of purchased property,” state auditors said.

COA flags OVP on equipment purchase worth P668K

CLOSER TO THE PEOPLE The Office of the Vice President under Vice President Sara Duterte has set up nine satellite offices around the country, including this one in Cauayan City, Isabela, to make its services accessible to the people. —Inday Sara Duterte FB Page


Supposedly, the OVP decided to purchase the equipment so it could set up new satellite offices on Duterte’s first day in office.


At present, the OVP has nine satellite offices around the country.

The first six satellite offices in the cities of Dagupan, Cebu, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Davao and Tandag in Surigao del Sur province were among Duterte’s campaign headquarters in the 2022 elections.

The OVP said these were converted into satellite offices in July that year to make its services more accessible to people outside Metro Manila.

A month later, the OVP opened its seventh satellite office in Bacolod City.

The eighth office was opened in April this year in Cauayan City, Isabela, and the ninth, in Cotabato City, in June.

The OVP said the satellite offices were not set up per region but for their strategic location, a major consideration being their proximity and accessibility to other areas or islands.

The COA advised the OVP to stop its procurement transactions by reimbursement, as this “defeats the purpose of the procurement law.” It was also urged to properly plan and schedule its procurements.


In its response, which is also included in COA’s report, the OVP cited time constraints imposed by the procurement law as the reason why it decided to move forward with purchasing through reimbursement.

“Nonetheless, the SO staff exercised the necessary diligence to ensure that the items purchased are of the required quality and the lowest price offered in the market,” the office said.

The OVP has yet to respond to reporters’ requests for comment after the COA report’s publication.

The COA also found in its report that the OVP spent P125 million in confidential funds last year — up from zero in the last five years under former Vice President Leni Robredo.

Confidential funds sought by Duterte were scrutinized in Congress last year when she was asked why she needed P500 million for the OVP and another P150 million for the Department of Education, of which she is also secretary.

In a budget deliberation in September 2022, Davao de Oro Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora, who sponsored the OVP’s budget, said the seven satellite offices established at that time operated under a budget of P150 million.

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In contrast, the OVP’s extraordinary and miscellaneous activities — or expenses related to official functions — only amounted to P483,600, less than the amount flagged by the COA.



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TAGS: Commission on Audit, Government Procurement Reform Act, Office of the Vice President, procurement rules

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