COA urges PCGG to take legal action vs PNB for unreliable dollar account

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 06:25 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Audit (COA) has found that the Presidential Commission on Good Government has an unreliable foreign currency savings account balance with the Philippine National Bank.

The PCGG, the body tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his family during his dictatorial regime, has a balance amounting to P122,485,141 after disbursing $2,978,079 or P157,004,376 from Sept. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2018 without supporting documents, COA said.

Government auditors noted in their annual audit report that the PCGG submitted PNB financial reports such as Statement of Retained Funds, Schedule of Outstanding Investments, Statement of Account, Summary of Disbursements/Expenses on the retained funds from September 2016 to December 2018.

PCGG's foreign currency savings account pertains to the PNB Retained Fund created through a resolution in 2004 signed by then Chairperson Haydee Yorac.

The bank was authorized to retain 5 percent of the amount recovered to cover the necessary administrative and litigation expenses in the recovery and transfer of proceeds of the Arelma account in the United States and West LB account in Singapore.

Government auditors noted that disbursements and expenses for the said period include trust fees, transaction charges, retainers fee, accrued fees and expenses with unsupported disbursements amounting to P157,004,376.

“Out of the total disbursements and expenditures, only $924.50 as retainer’s fee was duly supported with sales invoice issued by Morgan & Morgan. The rest of the disbursements and expenditures were not documented as required such as debit and credit memos among others,” the COA report said.

The COA said the PCGG agreed to their recommendation that all documents and authorizations for the disbursements be submitted as well as the filing of appropriate “legal action” against PNB to compel the bank to submit the supporting documents.

In a statement, the PCGG said it was already closely coordinating with PNB to obtain the documents requested by COA.

“It should be noted that present administration of PCGG did not authorize any disbursement from the subject PNB account, aside from the 5 Million Dollars that was transferred to the Government Treasury. Most of the disbursements from the account occurred during the past administrations but the PCGG is now communicating with PNB to turnover to COA the documents related to the fund,” the PCGG said.

The full audit report on the PCGG can be downloaded from the COA website.

A copy of the report was received by the office of PCGG Acting Chairperson Reynold Munsayac on May 10, 2019.