COA clears DILG Usec of liability in suspected misuse of P35-M intel funds
The Commission on Audit (COA) has cleared Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero of liability in the use of P35.25-million intelligence funds suspected to be irregularly sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In a six-page decision released recently, the COA said the issue is now “moot and academic” as it has established that the funds were actually sourced from the financial subsidy to local government units.
“Considering that the DILG Opinions speak of the legality of the use of PDAF, when in fact the fund subject of the disbursement was Financial Subsidy, such Opinions can no longer be the basis for the inclusion of Usec. Panadero as one of the persons liable on the NDs,” the decision read.
On Sept. 4, 2013, auditors included Panadero in 16 notices of disallowance covering various intelligence fund cash advances for peace and anti-insurgency in the province of Surigao del Norte in 2010.
At the time, the intelligence funds were thought to have been sourced from the PDAF allocations of former Surigao del Norte 1st Dist. Rep. Francisco Matugas and former 2nd Dist. Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr.
Panadero was faulted for issuing DILG opinions that declared there was no legal impediment to the use of PDAF for intelligence purposes.
The Department of Budget and Management only later confirmed that the intelligence funds were not sourced from PDAF. /ee
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