COA raises howl over P3.19-B SC savings in 2012
The Commission on Audit (COA) is questioning the Supreme Court for declaring a P3.19-billion savings in 2012 despite incurring huge unpaid obligations for the same year.
COA’s complaint is contained in the recently-released 2012 annual audit report on the High Court.
With COA’s posting of the long-delayed SC audit report, only the audit examination of the small municipality of Javier in Leyte remains to be on the watchlist of the news media assigned at the audit agency.
Javier’s name surfaced after its chief executive, Mayor Sandy Javier, was identified as the person behind the publication of whole page advertisement that defended President Aquino from criticisms over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program.
Javier is the president of the Municipal Mayor’s League, which reportedly paid for the full page advertisements that came out in two consecutive days in national dailies.
COA said the High Court savings constituted 22 percent of the total Notices of Cash Allocation (NCA) of P14.72 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
State auditors noted that the NCAs were released by the DBM to the SC for its operating requirements and to provide funding for its various ongoing programs and projects.
It was gathered that NCA releases are based on the Monthly Cash Program (MCP) submitted by an agency to the DBM. The MCP contains a complete breakdown of an agency’s “pre-determined” expenditures, including payment for goods and services as they become due.
Audit examiners are checking out the reasons the SC declared a big sum of savings for the year although it had huge unpaid obligations.
In fact, since the NCAs from 2012 have been declared as “savings,” SC had to use funds from its 2013 budget to pay for accountabilities incurred the year before.
According to COA, the SC should be reminded that audit rules are strict against perceived juggling of funds.
“We noted,…that various claims for transactions totaling P114,426,478.83 pertaining to the period from May to December, 2012, were paid only in 2013 because of delay in the submission of required documentations to support the claims,” COA noted.
“Cash allocations intended for 2013 were utilized for 2012 obligations,” it added.
Reacting to the audit report, the High Court admitted that this is not the first time it has gotten creative with its budget.
It said various unpaid claims in 2011 were paid out in 2012 because the endorsements for payment were transmitted late.
Under Section 53 of the 2012 General Appropriations Act, the Chief Justice was authorized to “augment any item from savings” realized from congressional appropriations received by High Court.
Based on the same law, savings can be realized in three ways: from leftover funds out of completed or discontinued programs/projects, from salaries or allowances due to a vacant position in the payroll, and from unused funds resulting from improved systems and efficiency.
This means that the “savings” becomes a lump sum that may be rechanneled for any purpose, program or project as long as it is already in existence at the time the national budget was enacted.