The Philippine Government Audit Service Employees Association (PhilGASEA), the Commission on Audit’s employees association, held its national election last August 12, 2015. The COA Alliance for Reform and Empowerment (CARE) party won almost all the National Executive Council positions and eight seats in the Board of Directors (BOD).

CARE standard bearer Atty. Haide T. Espuelas of the Fraud Audit Office (FAO) won over Mario L. Ortega and Alejandro P. Gementera, both from the Administration Sector. Meanwhile, Technical Services Office’s (TSO) Engineer Laurence T. Tato topped the BOD.

Here is the complete list of winners: President – Haide T. Espuelas, FAO; Vice President – Edgardo Lamberto L. Ramos, Jr., Office of the Chairperson; Secretary – Maria Careen R. Recio, Public Information Office; Treasurer – Jocelyn S. Nokom, FAO; Auditor – George S. Tamayo, Jr., FAO; PRO – Sharon C. Contarciego, Professional and Institutional Development Sector.

The new BOD is composed of Engr. Laurence T. Tato, TSO; Ms. Mary Grace G. Serenio, Local Government Sector; Ms. Jazmin C. Macabangon, Human Resource Management Office; Atty. Richard M. Fulleros, Legal Services Sector (LSS); Atty. Reynaldo C. Darang, Corporate Government Sector (CGS); Atty. Fabian K. Delos Santos, CGS; Atty. Jeremy H. Gariando, LSS; Dr. Karlo A. Cayetano, Medical and Dental Services Office; Atty. Rochelle C. Lancanan, FAO; Ms. Rachel M. Abendanio, General Services Office.

 

The new officers and board of directors of the Philippine Government Audit Service Employees Association (PhilGASEA) with members of the Committee on Elections shortly after the official results have been released.




Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with COA Regional Office No. XIII officials and employees during his first visit to the regional office on July 8, 2015.

Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo visited COA Regional Office No. XIII, Butuan City on July 8, 2015 to grace two significant events: the signing of the deed of donation for the 2,000 square meter lot donated by Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas and family for the construction of the Provincial Satellite Auditing Office (PSAO) in Surigao del Norte and the inauguration of the newly constructed PSAO building in Agusan del Sur.

COA CARAGA is the first regional office visited by the Honorable Chairperson after he got the nod from the Commission on Appointments. In her welcome remarks, OIC Regional Director Vivien G. Jumao-as said that “COA is blessed” for having received the “grace” in the person of former COA Chairperson Ma. Gracia M. Pulido Tan and now has the “gift” referring to present COA Chairperson Aguinaldo.

Chairperson Aguinaldo’s visit to COA-CARAGA was indeed a “gift” considering that it is a rare opportunity to be visited by the highest official of the Commission. COA CARAGA personnel returned the compliment by giving the Chairperson such a warm welcome. “Thank you for your support and prayers in my recent confirmation,” Chairperson Aguinaldo heartily said.

Chairperson Aguinaldo and Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas formally signed the deed of donation which was witnessed by COA regional officials and employees. The lot is located in Barangay Trinidad (formerly Luna), Surigao City. Afterwards, Chairperson Aguinaldo with COA RO XIII officials and some employees proceeded to the Government Center in Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur to inaugurate and witness the blessing of the newly constructed PSAO.

COA Chairperson Aguinaldo and Director Vivien G. Jumao-as, during the ribbon cutting ceremony held at Provincial Satellite Auditing Office (PSAO), Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on July 8, 2015.

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Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo with some of COA’s new employees during the orientation seminar held at the Professional Development Center Auditorium on July 1, 2015.

Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo advised new COA employees to give their best in their work during the orientation seminar conducted by the Professional and Institutional Development Sector from July 1-3, 2015.

“Keep in mind that what you do will be reflective of COA as well, so do your work properly to the best that you can. We have a good reputation now, let us not spoil it. Instead, bring it to a higher level,” Chairperson Aguinaldo said.

In his first appearance in an orientation class, Chairperson Aguinaldo told new recruits to take the opportunity to learn from those who have been in COA longer because they have the wealth of experience. At the same time, Chairperson Aguinaldo encouraged new COAns to keep their minds open for things that could be done better and to not be afraid to question processes that could be improved.

Chairperson Aguinaldo also emphasized the role of COA as enablers and partners of government agencies so they can perform their mandate more efficiently and effectively. To do this, COA must have a clearer and more uniform interpretation of audit rules and regulations and to educate public officials, especially in the barangays, on COA rules.

Around 160 new state auditors, state auditing examiners, special investigators, training specialists and administrative staff participated in the orientation seminar which aims to give newly hired COA personnel a better understanding of the Commission’s mandate, organizational structure, and administrative policies. The seminar’s goals also include instilling COA Core Values and professional ethics as well as improving personal effectiveness.




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.

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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.

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