'Inmates going obese'? COA flags excessive rice consumption at Palawan jail

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2020 04:40 PM

MANILA — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the apparently excessive consumption of rice among inmates at the Palawan Provincial Jail, with the budget overshot by 3.1 million in 2019.

State auditors noted that based on disbursement vouchers, the amount of actual rice consumption of detainees totaled P5.749 million, while normal rice consumption of 2 cups for each of Palawan's over 880 inmates would have only amounted to P2.644 million.

“It could be inferred that either the detainees were going obese or there was mismanagement of rice supplies for detainees, the former being illogical conclusion,” the COA report said.

Further analysis by state auditors also revealed that the total amount of subsistence allowance of P22.25 million for 2019 exceeded the limitation set by the Palawan Provincial Board at P19.29 million, based on a resolution allowing up to P60 per day per inmate.

The excess amount of P2.95 million is considered as “irregular and excessive expenditures.”

Auditors also revealed that there was failure to conduct competitive bidding on the P22.25 million procurement of food supplies. 

The provincial government, however, told government auditors that the subsistence allowance of prisoners was managed through a “By Administration through Cash Advance” scheme, which is an exception to the rule provided for in the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“The law provides exception only in cases where alternative mode of procurement may be allowed and whenever justified by the conditions provided for by the law,” government auditors countered.

The provincial government also commented that they arrived at a different computation using actual rice consumption amounting to P19.678 million, just a little over the Sangguniang Panlalawigan budget. 

Auditors, however, insisted that the provincial government should require the provincial jail warden to provide satisfactory explanation on the supposed excessive rice consumption, as well as exert effort to comply with the procurement law in the purchase of food supplies.