$34-M FM deposits missing

By REINIR PADUA, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 11 2008 11:54 PM | Updated as of Nov 07 2008 01:16 AM

Some $34.13 million of the Marcoses’ Swiss deposits supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury are now missing, based on a report of the Commission on Audit (COA).

According to the latest COA report on the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), this amount has yet to be transferred to the Bureau of Treasury from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) despite the presence of a writ of execution for the transfer of the money.

The COA report also cited that the PCGG even certified that PNB had “fully complied” with the writ.

“At least $34,130,468.05 or P1,413,376,812.42 of Swiss deposits deposited in escrow at PNB declared as fund belonging to and forfeited in favor of the government... were not taken up in the books of accounts of PCGG in violation of Section 63 of Presidential Decree 1445 (Government Auditing Code of the Philippines),” the COA report stated.

In a Supreme Court ruling on July 15, 2003, the high court declared that the Swiss deposits then deposited at PNB amounting to $658,175,373.60 were forfeited in favor of the Philippine government.

Because of this, the Sandiganbayan issued a writ of execution on Jan. 22, 2004 for the transfer of the Swiss deposits deposited in escrow at PNB to the Bureau of Treasury.

On Jan. 30 the same year, PNB filed before the Sandiganbayan a “manifestation of compliance” on the writ of execution and the government, through PCGG, executed a “deed of release with quitclaim” to “acknowledge, confirm and affirm PNB’s full compliance” to the writ of execution.

However, state auditors found out that only $624,044,905.55 were transferred and recorded in the books of the national treasury on Feb. 4, 2004.

“The balance of $34,130,486 or P1,413,376,812.42 remained unaccounted/unrecorded in the books,” the COA report said.

State auditors said PCGG must demand from PNB the “complete accounting, financial statements and other documents supporting the fund held in trust from the time the amount of $624,044,905.55 was deducted from the total deposits of $658,175,373.60 to determine the balance to be recorded in the books of account.”

In the COA report, it was stated that “the (PCGG) management commented that insofar as the Swiss deposit with PNB is concerned, they have no record on file.”

The report said the PCGG referred the audit observation to PNB for its action.

“However, verbal confirmation with officer at PNB Trust Department revealed that they are regularly submitting monthly financial reports to PCGG,” state auditors said.