COA officials led by Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo (center), Commissioner Heidi L. Mendoza (4th from left) and Commissioner Jose A. Fabia (4th from right) with the team from the Zanzibar Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Authority after the team’s visit to COA to study COA roles and mandate in the fight against corruption.
Commission on Audit (COA) officials briefed a team from the Zanzibar Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Authority (ZACECA) of Tanzania on COA’s roles and mandate in the fight against corruption as well as issues and challenges on audit intervention during a study tour held on June 22, 2015.
Assistant Commissioner Alexander B. Juliano discussed COA’s anti-corruption mandate, including “prevention/disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.” He also described fraud and forensic audits which COA conducts, the Citizen Participatory Audit project which was founded on the rationale that public accountability can foster only with vigilance of the citizenry, and other anti-corruption programs of COA such as the creation of a Prosecution and Litigation Office tasked to initiate complaints and assist in the prosecution of cases arising from audit actions, and initiatives as a permanent member of the Inter-agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council.
The team from Tanzania was composed of ZACECA Acting Director General Mr. Ali Juma Haji and Acting Head of Investigation Mr. Khamis Bakar Amani accompanied by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Analyst Ms. Fe Cabral. The UNDP together with the Office of the Ombudsman organized the Tanzania study tour on anti-corruption in the Philippines which ran from June 22 to 26, 2015.
COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo, Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia, Assistant Commissioner Luz L. Tolentino, Director Jonathan B. Beltran, and Assistant Director Eugenio R. Dizon also attended the meeting and answered questions from the Tanzanian team during the open forum.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismissed criminal charges against the 12 Commission on Audit (COA) auditors in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) releases through the National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR) and Technology Resource Center (TRC) that went to questionable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) between 2007 to 2009.
In a 62-page Resolution signed last June 22, 2015, Ombudsman Morales dismissed the complaints and all criminal charges against State Auditors Jerry A. Calayan, and Sylvia P. Montes (retired) who were assigned at the TRC, as well as State Auditors Annie L. Recabo, Rebecca B. Aquino, Diana E. Casado, Bella G. Tesorero, Susan D. Guardian, Elizabeth M. Savella, Merle M. Valentin, Aida S. Villania, Laarni Lyn E. Torres, and Herminia SD. Aquino (retired) who were assigned at NABCOR.
The Ombudsman found no sufficient evidence to hold respondents either administratively or criminally liable. “There is no probable cause to prosecute the COA officials. The evidence do not suggest that respondent-auditors conspired with their co-respondents in the misuse of former Representative of 2nd District, South Cotabato Arthur Y. Pingoy’s PDAF,” the Ombudsman said.
“On Calayan’s part, there was no showing that he was negligent in the conduct of his audit. In his 2007 audit findings, he revealed that PSDFI [Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc.] was one of the 28 NGOs which did not submit its corporate papers. He likewise indicated that two releases of Pingoy’s PDAF in 2007 for P10M and P5M remain unliquidated,” the Ombudsman said.
As for Montes, “she was able to satisfactorily show that she did not participate in the audit of TRC’s transactions. A perusal of her list of tasks to different government agencies from 2007 up to the time of her retirement does not indicate that she was assigned as Supervising Auditor of TRC at any given time.”
The Ombudsman ruled that COA auditors assigned at NABCOR did not appear to have conspired with their co-respondents in the misappropriation or misuse of Pingoy’s PDAF nor found to have been negligent in the performance of their duties.
“Said auditors were able to refute complainants’ allegation of negligence as the records show that the audit of NABCOR’s operation for 2008 was conducted only on September to December 2009. As for the 2009 transactions of NABCOR, their audit started only in October 2010. It was further shown at that time in the course of their audit, 20 audit observation, and 13 Audit Observation Memos (AOMs) were issued by them for 2007, 54 AOMs for 2008, and 13 AOMs for 2009, all of which have been included in the Annual Audit Report,” the Ombudsman said.
Commission on Audit (COA) top executives led by Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia with PFMP Team Leader and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Counsellor Daniel Featherston and Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Richard E. Moya shortly after the Brown Bag Session hosted by the COA.
Quezon City – The Philippines is gaining considerable ground in improving its public financial management system through programs that allow the government timely and accurate reporting of actual budget spending, accounting and auditing rules that adhere to international standards, and a broader and deeper citizen engagement in the budget process.
These reforms highlighted the Brown Bag Session on Public Financial Management (PFM) hosted by the Commission on Audit (COA) in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP) held at the COA Professional and Institutional Development Sector Auditorium on June 16, 2015.
Chairperson Aguinaldo welcomes participants to the PFM Brown Bag Session on Public Financial Management.
The event updated 100 COA top executives led by COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia, as well as auditors and support staff on the progress achieved by the PFM Reform Program which aims to improve efficiency, accountability and transparency in public fund use in order to ensure the direct, immediate, substantial and economic delivery of public services.
Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo, Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia with the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) after the CA approved Chairperson Aguinaldo’s ad-interim appointment.
The Commission on Appointments (CA) approved the ad-interim appointment of Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo on June 10, 2015. Chairperson Aguinaldo breezed through the confirmation process during the 2nd Regular Session of the 16th Congress.
In his sponsorship speech, CA Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Offices Chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III said Chairperson Aguinaldo “has the qualities of competence, fitness and integrity.” Senator Guingona listed the accomplishments of Chairperson Aguinaldo who joined the government service in 2011.
Earlier, Senator Guingona seemed pleased with the very straightforward answers of Chairperson Aguinaldo during the Committee panel hearing on June 9, 2015. Chairperson Aguinaldo said that he believes that there should be a uniform set of guidelines for auditors to follow when asked by Senator Guingona on the different interpretation of auditors on the provisions of Presidential Decree 1445.
COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with Commissioners Heidi L. Mendoza and Jose A. Fabia and Director Lito Q. Martin during COA’s presentation of its bid to renew its mandate as External Auditor of the World Health Organization.
From March to May, the Commission on Audit scored two wins in auditing international agencies. Last March, we beat the United Kingdom and France in the post of External Auditor of the International Labour Organization, even if we submitted the highest bid and without launching a campaign. Just two months passed and again, we won as External Auditor of the World Health Organization after three rounds of secret balloting. While we were literally jumping for joy, we realized that it is the first month anniversary of our beloved Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo. What a welcome surprise! This calls for an M2M as in Merry Making …