PCOO exec confirms he quit, but belies anomaly in ASEAN info caravan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2018 05:50 PM | Updated as of May 21 2018 08:03 AM

MANILA - A Palace communications official confirmed on Friday he resigned earlier this month but denied a report claiming irregularity in the P647.11 million used for an information caravan during the country’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2017.

Speaking to reporters, Undersecretary Noel Puyat disputed a report saying the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCCO) use of P647.11 million for its information caravan.

“I was very, very surprised. That’s why I went straight to COA and asked for some sort of certification. I wanted to know,” he said.

Puyat then showed a letter from COA stating that the news report could not have been based from a COA audit report on PCOO because none has been released.

COA also said its audit team has no knowledge of any ongoing investigation involving the P647.11 million fund.

Puyat added, of the estimated P1.4 billion fund of the PCOO for the ASEAN, around P600 million has been reverted to the national treasury.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has filed a resolution seeking a probe into the alleged misuse of funds.

Puyat said he is ready to answer all allegations, noting that since he took office, the COA has not yet issued any notice of disallowance for any expenses of his office.

“The finance and budget divisions are preparing all necessary documents and we will present such to the Senate if requested,” he said.

“Anyway, we have the COA certification that no said audit report exists, and there’s no ongoing investigation in black and white. And I think that is the best evidence to prove that no said investigation or report exists, if it comes from COA itself.”