PLLO: Report on ‘overpaid consultants’ very misleading, pregnant with malice | Inquirer News
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PLLO: Report on ‘overpaid consultants’ very misleading, pregnant with malice

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 02:33 PM April 24, 2018

Commission on Audit (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) justified on Tuesday its hiring of consultants after the Commission on Audit (COA) said the agency overpaid more than P3 million to these redundant jobs.

The COA questioned PLLO why it spent P3.070 million for hiring consultants whose jobs were redundant and are doable by existing regular personnel.

READ: COA hits uneconomical hirings in 2 agencies under Office of the President

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“It is noteworthy that in 2017, the present PLLO, under the able and competent leadership of Sec. Adelino B. Sitoy, was in transition and some much-needed policy reforms in organization and operations had to be made in order to adequately and aggressively respond to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s priority legislative agenda and to his strong advocacy toward Federalism for the Philippines,” the PLOO said in a statement.

“Given this backdrop, the PLLO was constrained to hire additional manpower with qualifications commensurate to their respective tasks to supplement the human resource requirement of the PLLO on endeavors beyond the optimum in-house capacity of its existing staff – from legal professionals to members of the academe and to skilled personnel, all with proven capacities in public administration, local government, administrative law, media relations and good governance,” it added.

Below is the complete statement of the PLLO: 

We at the PLLO find it unfortunate that a recent Rappler news article published online that reported on the hiring by the PLLO of alleged overpaid consultants are sadly misleading and appears to be pregnant with malice, failing to take into account PLLO’s side of the story.

The subject AOM No. 2017-003, which is a preliminary audit tool utilized by COA to invite comments and clarifications from its client-government agencies, made reference to its audit of PLLO’s Consultancy Services account and to which PLLO had submitted its comments thereon. Likewise, these very same concerns, among others, were taken up and resolved during the exit conference held between COA and PLLO Management Officials.

It is noteworthy that in 2017, the present PLLO, under the able and competent leadership of Sec. Adelino B. Sitoy, was in transition and some much-needed policy reforms in organization and operations had to be made in order to adequately and aggressively respond to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s priority legislative agenda and to his strong advocacy toward Federalism for the Philippines. Its present technical and administrative manpower notwithstanding, the engagement of professionals and human resource of varied capacities and skills sets dedicated to specialized policy studies and technical assistance work, where trust and confidence are of the utmost consideration as well, was deemed necessary. It is also noteworthy that the increased number of coordinative activities entailed the proportional increase in the volume of paper work and administrative duties. Given this backdrop, the PLLO was constrained to hire additional manpower with qualifications commensurate to their respective tasks to supplement the human resource requirement of the PLLO on endeavors beyond the optimum in-house capacity of its existing staff – from legal professionals to members of the academe and to skilled personnel, all with proven capacities in public administration, local government, administrative law, media relations and good governance.

It bears emphasis that PLLO has complied with all of COA’s recommendations in the subject AOM and had already effected the proper and needed adjustments in its consultancy services, such as giving clear and defined terms of engagement and deliverables of its primarily confidential consultants, as well as reviewing its rates of consultancy services to make it commensurate to the character and quality of the services to be rendered. This compliance has been acknowledged by COA in its 2017 AAR and no disallowance was issued by COA on the matter. PLLO has always committed to the policy of prudence and economy in the use of taxpayer’s money and truly appreciate COA’s vigilance for good governance and the media’s indispensable support and contributions in achieving this goal.

However, it is very regrettable that Rappler simply printed what they had lifted from the subject AOM and the PLLO was never asked to comment on the matter. We would think that in the interest of fair play and responsible journalism, Rappler would have had the decency of seeking our side on the matter before publishing the same. That is not what had happened and we lament that Rappler ’s story is tantamount to spreading FAKE NEWS. /jpv

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TAGS: COA, consultants, duterte, PLLO, Sitoy
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