COA readies malversation charges over unliquidated expenses

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Monday, March 17, 2014

THE Commission on Audit (COA) is set to file malversation charges against nearly a hundred government officials who failed to liquidate their cash advances since 2011.

COA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan said this Monday at the Senate committee on finance hearing on the use of non-government organizations (NGOs) in government transactions following the pork barrel scam controversy.

"In law, there is a presumption, if you are entrusted with money, then you do not account for it, that money was malversed," Tan told reporters in an ambush interview.

"We are sending message that you cannot get away from this forever. Kailangan may managot," she said.

Tan said the amount is on top of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) misused by alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles in connivance with lawmakers. Napoles supposedly put up bogus NGOs, which benefited from the PDAF of lawmakers.

Tan said the COA already made a "final demand" in 2012 by publishing notices in newspapers. Because of this, P1.6 billion was already liquidated.

"Yung P4 (billion) something na naiiwan, iyon ang kakasuhan," she said.

The COA official said they encountered "technical problems" because a lot of concerned government officials, who have either resigned or left the country, will be hard to trace.

Tan said the COA and the Office of the Ombudsman agreed to focus on an amount threshold of P1 million and above.

"We had a discussion with the Ombudsman, nightmare kung lahat kakasuhan. We agreed on a threshold amount. Kung P1 million and above yung hindi naliquidate, pasok sa Ombudsman," she said.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) will take the responsibility over government officials with cash advances less than P1 million through salary deduction. (Sunnex)

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