Resolution filed calling for parallel audit of Senate funds-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
MANILA -- For the sake of transparency, a resolution has been filed in the Senate on Tuesday to make the chamber's books open to a parallel audit to be conducted by a private firm and the Commission on Audit (COA).
"A people's audit or a joint or parallel audit that is open to the public involving a private and independent firm and the COA addresses the growing uncertainty as regards to the credibility and integrity of the Senate as an institution," stated Senate Resolution 934 introduced by Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.
Senators had already agreed to turn over documents regarding their use of funds from 2010 to 2012 to COA while letting go the practice of issuing certifications to liquidate money allotted for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).
This developed after Cayetano and other senators not allied with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile recently questioned the latter's distribution last month of additional MOOE of P1.6 million to 18 senators and P250,000 to the remaining four including the minority leader.
"Among the issues sought to be answered are: (1) How was the P250,000 released to all the senators reported or liquidated by the Senate President, and (2) From the P2 billion Senate budget for 2012, how much was liquidated by certification alone," he said.
Cayetano, meanwhile, said there is no legal impediment in allowing the joint or parallel audit by the people and/or a private auditing firm with the COA, contrary to the statement on Monday of Senator Panfilo Lacson.
"According to the Constitution, the powers of COA include the exclusive role to determine the scope of audit but not being the sole body to conduct an audit," he told reporters.
Article IX, Section 2(2) of the Constitution states that COA "shall have exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in this Article, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required therefore, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations..."
In case of conflicting results of the audit done by the government and the private firm, Cayetano said the COA findings will prevail "being the official auditing." He also doesn't see anything wrong with the Senate allocating funds to audit itself.
"Pero kung wala ay mag-aambagan kami maski kaming minority lang. But let me tell you there is no moral or legal impediment for the Senate paying for it," he said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)