COA flags delayed liquidation of OVP cash advances; Robredo's office says amounts 'fully liquidated'

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2018 07:06 PM

COA flags delayed liquidation of OVP cash advances; Robredo's office says amounts 'fully liquidated' 1
Vice President Leni Robredo. Ezra Acayan, Reuters/ File

MANILA - The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged cash advances for local travels made by personnel of the office of Vice President Leni Robredo that were not liquidated within 30 days. 

In its annual audit report on the Office of the Vice President, the COA said traveling expenses of the agency amounted to P26.446 million for local travel and P953,550.75 for foreign trips in 2017. 

Delays in liquidation ranged from two days to 116 days.

“Review of liquidation reports for the local travels showed that the pertinent cash advances were not liquidated within the prescribed period of 30 days upon return to the employee’s workstation, in violation of Section 25(5), Chapter 6, Volume I of the Government Accounting Manual,” the COA said. 

Verification of state auditors also disclosed that unused or excess cash advances, ranging from as low as P300 to as high as P62,000, were not refunded immediately by OVP personnel. 

The COA, however, noted that the OVP agreed to remain committed to ensuring full liquidation through regular monitoring, continuous follow-up and close coordination with the personnel concerned.

“Neglect of management to demand the immediate refund of unused/excess cash advances and the submission of liquidation reports within the period prescribed renders inaccuracies in the financial statements, which might result in financial statements not fairly presented,” the COA said. 

In a statement, the OVP said all cash advances listed in the COA report "have already been fully liquidated" and that it has implemented steps to ensure the timely liquidation of expenses by its staffers. 

"Furthermore, the OVP has instituted stricter measures to prevent similar delays. Full details of these steps taken by the OVP were communicated to COA in a letter sent in March 2018. These include clearer guidelines on the handling of cash advances and the withholding of compensation for accountable staff subject to the full liquidation of advances, consistent with COA's own recommendations," it said. 

The COA also noted that there were missing equipment worth a total of P52,550, included a paper shredder, a printer and a portable radio communication device.

An ambulance donated during the term of Vice President Jejomar Binay but was already returned to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office was not derecognized in the books. 

“The failure of the accounting unit to derecognize the returned vehicle resulted in the overstatement of the accounts Motor Vehicles, Accumulated Depreciation-Motor Vehicles and Accumulated Surplus (Deficit) by P866,000, P235,057.20, and P630,942.80, respectively," the COA said.

The COA said the OVP agreed to intensify efforts in locating the missing equipment and to secure documents proving the PCSO's receipt of the subject vehicle.

The audit agency also noted the OVP's high fund utilization in 2017, unlike in the previous year.

“Out of the total appropriations and allotments of P452,719,152 in CY 2017 and continuing appropriations of P243,510,980.9, P663,431,280.73 or 95.29 percent of which were obligation and P615,229,955.24 or 88.37 percent were disbursed,” the COA said.