By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit (CoA) scolded the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo for failing to monitor OVP funds transferred to local government units for the implementation of their respective projects.
State auditors were concerned about the regularity and authenticity of locally-funded projects as liquidation and quarterly reports have not been returned by the beneficiaries to Robredo’s office.
The recently-released OVP annual audit report showed that state auditors have found deficiencies on the P44.665 million allocation that Robredo’s office transferred to 29 cities and municipalities in 2018.
COA said that out of the 19 LGUs only 10 have issued ORs for the transferred amount.
The amount is part of the total P80 million budget set aside by the OVP for LFPs in 2018. Another P26.950 million was obligated for transfer to the LGU’s for this year.
COA said the OVPs failure to monitor the LFPs resulted to non-issuance by LGU’s of the official receipts (ORs) for the transferred amount and non-submission of Liquidation and Quarterly Reports which “casts doubt on the regularity, completeness, and accuracy of the projects.”
According to COA Robredo’s office has issued guidelines for the utilization of the funds for its Angat Buhay advocacy which responds to the needs of the service of certain communities by providing financial assistance to selected LGUs.
Auditors noted that the failure of the OVP to ensure the return of documentary requirements from LGU beneficiaries is contrary to the Memorandum of Agreement that the OVP and each LGU beneficiary signed.
They also noted that a violation of Presidential Decree No. 1445 has been committed. PD 1445 requires the issuance of ORs as it states that “no payment of any nature shall be received by a collecting officer without immediately issuing an official receipt in acknowledgment thereof.”
CoA said that instead of ORs, the OVP received certifications from LGU’s even though it is not the documentary requirement prescribed under CoA’s auditing guidelines.
State auditors also said that the OVP “did not diligently follow up” the submission of the ORs which is “imprudent” for OVP which served as the Source Agency for the disbursements of the said funds.
“It could mean that the agency is not keen or interested in ensuring the legitimacy of its projects, Valid questions would be: Were the funds recorded in the books of the agency? If it was recorded, did the LGU record the correct amount under the correct account?,” the audit agency asked.
The audit report stressed: “It is of note that the absence of ORs cast doubt on the authenticity of fund transfers to IAs (Implementing Agencies),” CoA added.
With regards the failure of the OVP to submit the requisite liquidation and quarterly reports on the said LFPs, the vice president’s office reported that out of the 29 LFPs, seven were completed as of year-end of 2018 while five projects were completed last March 2019.
However, COA pointed out that despite the completion of the 12 projects amounting to P19,608,856, no liquidation and quarterly reports for these LFPs were submitted to the OVP or posted on the LGU’s implementing agency’s website which was required in the general provision of the 2018 GAA.
It was also contrary to the MoA between the OVP and the LGUs as Item 2.1.4 of the said agreement states that the OVP and the LGU shall regularly coordinate and LGU shall submit quarterly Accomplishment Report that will include the Fund Utilization Report, Report of Checks Issued and Report of Disbursements certified correct by the accountant and approved by the Local Chief Executive and duly received by audit examiners.
The state audit body said that both requirements were “unheeded” by the 29 LGUs which received the funds.
“As discussed, the inadequate monitoring by the OVP of the required reports does not speak well on its advocacy of helping the poor. The advocacy does not end at transferring the funds. The agency needs to observe and oversee that funds were utilized as intended,” COA stated.
It added: “The absence of liquidation reports and quarterly reports cast doubt on the accuracy and regularity of disbursements of the funds.”