Senate maintains transparency in budget disbursements

Published September 24, 2020, 5:56 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate maintained Thursday that it has been transparent with its budget disbursements and performance.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III described as erroneous the report quoting the Commission on Audit (CoA) that the Senate did not comply with its Transparency Seal and failed to fully disclose its dealings.

The CoA was quoted as saying in its 2019 report that the Senate’s website “is not compliant with the government’s advocacy of enhancing transparency and enforcing accountability.” The information posted on its website were supposedly incomplete and not updated since 2015.

“It appears na mali ang report (the report was erroneous),” Sotto said in a message to reporters.

The Senate Secretariat also said that they have complied with the requirements of the Transparency Seal.

“In reply to the previous CoA audit observation, the Senate Finance Bureau said in its memorandum dated June 29, 2020 that financial documents have been posted on the Senate website. The website shows posting for the periods 2015-2019,” it said.

“Latest financial records are current as of December 2019 and the Senate will be continuously updating postings of required documents per schedule,” it added.

“Sa madaling salita, hinay-hinay sa pagbintang (In other words, don’t be too quick to judge),” Sotto said.

A Transparency Seal is usually displayed on the websites of government agencies as a certification that they have complied with the disclosure requirements of the General Appropriations Act to enhance transparency and accountability in their transactions.

The seal, when clicked, links to a page containing an index of downloadable documents and reports on their budgets, procurements, contracts awarded, and project assessments, among others.

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Senate website contained reports from 2014 to December 2019.