By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit has chided the Commission on Elections for failing to delay on time some P1.63 billion in cash advances covering payrolls, official local and foreign travels and special purpose yet time-bound activities.
“The delay in the submission of the LRs (liquidation reports) resulted to the delay in processing and recording of the said liquidations. Had the submission and processing of LRs been on time, the outstanding balance of cash advances could have been reduced,” COA stated in the 2018 Comelec Management Letter.
Auditors also lamented that despite the delayed liquidation, the Comelec granted additional cash advances to accountable officers.
“Thus the non-liquidation or non-submission of the liquidation reports within the prescribed period and the grant of additional cash advances despite the existence of unliquidated cash advances were contrary to Section 89 of PD 1445, and Sections 4.1.2. and 4.1.3 of COA Circular No. 97-002, respectively,” the audit report stated.
Of the amount of cash advances not liquidated on time, some P1.207 billion pertains to the advances granted to special disbursing officers assigned to the May 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Under the law, the expenditures should have been liquidated immediately after the activities for which the money was allotted to have been accomplished.
The longest non-liquidation delay was recorded in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that had an unliquidated cash advance of P101.35 million for 252 days.
Comelec Region XII failed to liquidate P38.38 million in cash advance within 236 days while RegionVIII’s P146 million expenditure was not liquidated in 235 days.
State auditors recommended that the Comelec should require all accountable officers to immediately liquidate their respective cash advances.
IN the same management letter, COA asked the poll body to justify its choice in leasing Café Maja Rica for the 14-day seminar of Board of Election Inspectors for the May 13, 2013 Automated National and Local Elections.
“Expenses amounting to P5,539,200.00 incurred in the lease of Café Maja Rica in La Maja Rica Hotel in the province of Tarlac, for the 14-day seminar of Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) for the May 13, 2013 Automated National and Local Elections, were not properly supported by documents such as quotations from two other hotels of the same type or classification within the vicinity of Tarlac” audit examiners said.
According to COA, this process is required under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Law.