Officials need to settle P43M-A A +A
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
SOME officials of the Capitol have to account for P43.95 million in total unliquidated cash advances, some of these dating back to 2005.
A list from the Provincial Accounting Office showed these officials include suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, some department heads and some members of the Provincial Board.
Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre has the biggest unsettled advance, amounting to more than P26 million. He said the bulk of it was the governor’s intelligence funds in 2010.
Salubre also said he has submitted all the requirements to the Commission on Audit (COA), but its “credit advice” for 2011 and 2012 have not arrived yet.
Cash advances are released for official trips or activities, and liquidated through the submission of receipts. The fact that these are not liquidated does not necessarily mean these were wasted or misspent. However, COA has repeatedly asked local governments not grant a cash advance to a person who still has to liquidate a previous advance.
Among the officials with unliquidated advances in the Province are Governor Garcia, who has a balance of P404,928 in unliquidated advances; her chief of staff Elizabeth Francia and protocol officer Ronald Conopio.
Some officials who do not belong to the governor’s party also have unliquidated cash advances, like Provincial Board Members Wilfredo Caminero (P110,347), Thadeo Ouano (P7,100) and Arleigh Sitoy (P17,940).
All three said they are already in the process of liquidating these advances.
“That is not money taken out (of Capitol coffers). Gibayad na sa (That paid for) expenses incurred during official travels,” said Governor Garcia, referring to her official trips abroad.
Most officials reportedly failed to get clearances from government agencies and without these, the liquidation of their cash advances has been delayed.
“COA does not consider the amount liquidated until we can get a reconsideration from the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government),” Garcia said.
The same reasons were given by Caminero, Francia, Conopio and Provincial Tourism Office head Grace Paulino. Some of them were with the governor in some of the chief executive’s international and local travels.
Caminero, who is still reimbursing P300,000 for his official travels, said the fact that some advances remain unliquidated is not entirely their fault.
DILG’s standard reply, he added, is that “they will issue travel authority provided that no government funds will be used.”
DILG Regional Director Ananias Villacorta said that the Bureau of Immigration has the power to stop any government official who has no authority to travel abroad for official functions.
The fact that these Capitol officials were able to travel abroad, he added, suggests that the secretary gave them travel authority.
Department heads Dr. Christina Giango, Marivic Garces, Bernard Calderon and Provincial Accountant Marieto Ypil said their advances were for their offices’ revolving funds, and they are already liquidating these. Ypil made the list of unliquidated cash advances.
Department head Eva Encabo of the Provincial General Services Office has started paying back some of the unliquidated cash advances and only has to liquidate P5,652.
Retired Provincial Health Office disbursing officer Sergio Villahermosa is also in the process of settling his advances.
Among Governor Garcia’s biggest cash advances, according to a subsidiary ledger, were the trips she made to the United States to attend the launching of books about Cebu.
She went to New York in 2007 for the launching of a book on Cebuano architecture, and for that got a cash advance of P298,490. When “Cebu, Pride of Place” was launched in New York and California in 2008, her office was issued a cash advance of P496,479.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2013.