Senate, House agree to open books: COA

By Pinky Webb, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2013 07:59 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 03:59 AM

MANILA – After the controversial distribution of the Senate’s Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senator Panfilo Lacson and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte met with Commission in Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan yesterday.

Leaders of both chambers agreed that it should be the COA who should undertake the audit in both the Senate and the House.

Tan said she and the leaders of both chambers agreed on two things:

That Congress will open its books to COA and that they will have finance and budget officials of both chambers meet with representatives of COA.

Tan also said Lacson had turned over voluminous documents to her for the audit.

She said the audit will begin as soon as possible although no timetable has been set for the conclusion of the investigation.

Tan, however, admits that she is more focused on stricter auditing beginning 2013, and that a mere certification on the liquidation will not be enough.

She is not inclined to focus on the previous years as she said this will be difficult and counterproductive.

But since auditing for the year 2012 is not yet complete, Tan said they will require docs to be submitted to the agency.

Tan further said that many agencies have unliquidated cash advances but they are required to settle these advances by Jan 31, 2013.

To prove this, a circular from the COA was published in major dailies since December, demanding all agencies with unliquidated cash advances since 2011 to settle them by Jan. 31 lest face charges such as malversation of public funds.