The Commission on Audit (COA) said former President Benigno Aquino III’s disbursed travel funds, which amounted to P138.027 million, are not yet liquidated as of December last year.
From 2011 to 2015, a total of P138,027,229.03 fund transfers remained unliquidated as of December 31, 2016 for the foreign travels of Aquino.
In the 2016 audit report on the Office of the President (OP), COA said the total amount was transferred to designated embassies and consulates which handled or arranged Aquino’s various trips abroad.
“Since all presidential foreign trips during the past administration were completed the said amount should have been expended,” the COA report read.
“However, settlement thereof could not be made due to the non-submission of the liquidation reports or the disbursement reports of the authorized SDOs (special disbursement officers) of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA),” it added.
The state auditors noted that for the past five to 10 years, a total of P131,978,876.50 transferred funds under the books of several national government agencies (NGAs) have remained unaccounted for.
“Aging of these accounts revealed that P63,672,675.48 had been outstanding for more than five years and P68,306,201.02 for more than 10 years,” the COA said.
Further, COA noted that the P33.899 million funds transferred to government implementing agencies (IAs) were still unliquidated as of the end of 2016. This ocurred despite the said agencies being ‘abolished by virtue of two executive orders’ issued by Aquino in November and December 2010.
“Audit showed that the balance as of December 31, 2016 due from NGAs included P33,899,163.78 unliquidated balances of fund transfers to said abolished agencies and task forces,” the report read.
“The Audit Team discovered that there was no proper winding-up of the operations of the abolished agencies under EO Nos. 13 and 18, including disposition or transfer of the assets and liabilities, thus, their validity and collectability could not be determined,” it added.
Among the abolished IAs and task forces still having unliquidated fund transfers from the OP were: Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (P9.9 million), Mindanao Economic Development Council (P155,233), Minerals Development Council (P542,517), Luzon Urban Beltway Super Region (P5.974 million), Urban Triangle Development Commission (P200,000), Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (P1million), Atlas Commission (P2.766 million), Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (P3.333 million), Government Peace Negotiating Panel (P3.498 million), MELO Commission (P4 million), Philippine Panel to PR-US Commission (P109,758), Lanao Advisory Council (P1.461 million) and Ad Hoc Council on Values Formation (P957,500).
“Lack of monitoring of the status of fund transferred to different IAs [implementing agencies]and project implementation resulted in the accumulation of unliquidated balances and undetermined amount of unrecorded expenses,” COA said in the statement.
Given the said review, COA advised the OP to create a monitoring team that would coordinate with the NGAs to foresee the completion of the intended purposes of fund transfers to demand proper accounting and liquidation of the same.
The COA also urged the OP to fast-track the winding-up of the abolished IAs to move toward settlement of their outstanding balances.
“Coordinate with concerned Embassies and Consulates on the submission of liquidation reports of fund transfers for travel expenses,” COA advised the OP. (By Jennifer Soriano/AJPress)