COA questions P4.9 million spent by Cavite government on consultants

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2019 06:09 PM

MANILA- The Commission on Audit has questioned the Cavite provincial government's move to hire consultants, whose services were not justified.

In the 2018 annual audit report on the provincial government, state auditors said the Cavite government led by Gov. Crispin Remulla paid a total of P4.945 million payments to consultants.

A review of the service contracts and other documents showed that the scope of work and expected outputs of each consultant were not indicated, COA said.

“Absence of such needed information in the consultancy contracts provided no means to assess whether the services rendered by the consultants were beyond the in-house capability of the province to undertake such works, either due to lack of expertise of incumbent employees or time to undertake the nature of works needed,” the COA report said.

COA noted that based on the Government Procurement Act, consultants may be hired only if a project would require a level of expertise beyond the capabilities of the in-house personnel.

COA Memorandum No. 2005-027 dated Feb. 28, 2005 also stated that the scope of work, expected outputs and others are required in an approved consultancy contract.

A copy of the audit report was received by Remulla's office on May 31, 2019.

The highest paid among the consultants were Consultant for Investor Relations Adriano Timoteo with P360,000 for the whole year, Special Assistant to the Governor Ruperto Sangalang P330,000 and Consultant for Agriculture Modernization Edilberto Silan P300,000.

The other consultants named in the audit report were Alan Gerard Austriaco, Ramil Badajos, Armando Batino, Teodulo Batino, Josefina Camañag, Domingo Carillo, Racquel Crisologo-Lara, Victor Dihan, John Antonio Dionisio, Evelyn Dominguez, Jose Rozel Hernandez, Carlito Jose, Lamberto Parra, Federico Poblete, Filipina Samson, Antonio Santos, Roman Salazar, Arnel Taruc, Celedonio Tibayan, Marciano Velando and Jose Viloa III.

The report said the consultants received a monthly honorarium which ranged from P10,000 to P30,000 and their contracts were renewed annually even if consultancy service contracts should cover a maximum period of one year.

The audit team recommended that Remulla order his human resources manager to furnish the audit team with copies of the contracts which clearly denied the scopes of work of the consultants, as well as their deliverables, terms of reference and time frames to avoid disallowances on the disbursements made.

The provincial government, said it was already addressing the issue.

“The chief administrative officer informed the audit team that they are now in the process of revising the standard consultancy contract of the province to conform with the audit recommendations,” the COA report said.

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