OVP spent 2022 confidential funds in 11 days, says lawmaker; COA seeks more explanation

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2023 01:30 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2023 04:01 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Office of the Vice President (OVP) spent its 2022 confidential funds amounting to P125 million in just 11 days, Rep. Stella Quimbo revealed Monday.

"Ang totoo po ay nagulat din po ako nung mabasa ko ang mga balita na tila nagastos po sa loob ng 19 days [ang CF]... Tinanong ko po ang COA (Commission on Audit) at tiningnan ko po ang mga iba't ibang mga reports pero hindi po ito nagastos sa loob ng 19 days kung hindi 11 days po," Quimbo said. 

(I was also shocked when I read the news that the CF was spent in 19 days. I asked COA and I looked at various reports, it was not spent in 19 days, but in 11 days.)

Quimbo, who has been defending the OVP's confidential funds, was speaking on behalf of the Commission on Audit (COA) during the plenary deliberation on the proposed 2024 budget.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas was visibly shocked following Quimbo's admission as they initially thought the funds were spent in 19 days.

"Eleven days, ang hirap isipin kasi parang kung surveillance yan, ilang reward payment po yan na aabot ng P11 million per day," she said.

(It's hard to imagine spending that in 11 days because if it's for surveillance, how many reward payments will reach P11 million per day?)

According to Quimbo, the COA has asked the OVP to further explain and provide more documents to support its use of the P125-million confidential funds in 2022.

Quimbo explained that the OVP submitted its liquidation report back in January 2023 and the COA issued an audit observation memorandum in September for the OVP to explain.

"Ang audit observation memorandum na yan ay nagko-convey po ng request for additional documents mula sa Office of the Vice President para po makapagpaliwanag sila ng ilan sa mga expenses," Quimbo said.

(An audit observation memorandum conveys a request for additional documents from the Office of the Vice President to explain some of the expenses.)

Quimbo said the COA intends to finish the OVP 2022 confidential fund audit by November 15 this year, since agencies have 15 days to respond to an observation memorandum. 

The OVP told media it has not gotten a copy of the AOM yet. 

"As of now, wala pa po kami natatanggap na AOM from COA. Maraming Salamat po," OVP spokesperson Atty. Reynold Munsayac said.