Acosta: COA report on P4.8-M PAO building design not a red flag
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta on Thursday maintained that the P4.8 million initial payment made for the plans and design of the construction of a new office building was aboveboard.
The P4.8-million is part of a P12-million appropriation for PAO’s new central office.
“That [COA report] is not a red flag. COA (Commission on Audit) only asked why there is a need for a partial payment,” Acosta told reporters.
The budget, according to Acosta, has been included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the plan and design which was made by the National Housing Authority (NHA) with the approval of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
On the need for a partial payment, Acosta said “ang MOA (memorandum of agreement) po niyan ay progressive billing.”
(The MOA is for progressive billing.)
Acosta argued that had the PAO may end up paying P200 million had it used a private firm for the plans and design.
“Hindi po kumuha ng private architectural company ang PAO. Government to government transaction po para wala pong lalabas na pondo ang gobyerno (The PAO did not get a private architectural company. It was a government to government transaction so no funds will leave government hands),” she said.
In a report, the COA questioned the partial payments of PAO amounting to P1.8 million and P3 million on March 16, 2017 and August 2, 2017, respectively.
The audit body indicated that the payments were made even without the supporting documents needed for the release of funds. /je
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