Malampaya funds: Where’s P25B?
State auditors have raised red flags over a P25 billion discrepancy in the current balance of the Malampaya Fund as the government treasury’s status reports and account books reflected different totals for cash releases and remittances.
The differences, according to the Commission on Audit (COA), amount to nearly P21 billion in cash releases and some P4 billion in remittances as of December 2016, “casting doubt on the reliability of the balance of the Malampaya Fund.”
In its annual report on the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) for 2016, COA cited sizable discrepancies between two records of the controversial fund, which represented government royalties from the offshore natural gas project in the Camago-Malampaya Reservoir in the West Philippine Sea.
Based on the BTr’s report under the title “Department of Energy (DOE)-Malampaya Special Account in the General Fund 151,” a total of P232 billion was remitted to the national treasury by the DOE from 2002 to 2016, COA said.
Figures don’t match
On the other hand, P42 billion was released from the fund to finance government energy projects, leaving a balance of P189 billion, the agency said.
But the figures did not match those in subsidiary ledgers kept by BTr’s National Cash Accounting Division (NCAD) under the tag “Cash-Treasury/Agency Deposit Special Account-DOE-Malampaya.”
NCAD records showed that remittances and releases from the Malampaya Fund amounted to P236 billion and P21 billion, respectively, over the same 12-year period, leaving a balance of P214 billion, COA said.
COA noted, however, that no ledger for remittances was actually available for 2002 in the second record as the BTr’s NCAD only began keeping track of it in 2003.
State auditors said the disparity gave rise to an “unreconciled fund balance between the two records” totaling P25 billion after subtracting total releases from total remittances.
COA reminded BTr that under Presidential Decree No. 1445, the head of agency should “see to it that reconciliation is made between the balances shown in the reports and the balances found in the books of the agency.”
It said further review revealed that the differences noted in the records were attributed to “non-inclusion of adjustments made in the status/monitoring sheet.”
In 2013, top government officials including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were charged with plunder in connection with the alleged diversion of P900 million in Malampaya funds meant for typhoon victims to bogus foundations controlled by alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
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