Saturday, September 25, 2021

COA questions Labella over delegation of some tasks to city administrator

CEBU. Cebu City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. (Amper Campana)

THE Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s delegation of authority to City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., stating that this may create a risk—the City Government could enter into transactions without the knowledge of the local chief executive.

The COA, on its 2020 audit report, found out that Labella granted the city administrator the authority to sign disbursement vouchers, payrolls, purchase request, and other official documents that ran contrary to the National Guidelines on Internal Control Systems and pertinent provisions of Government Accounting and Auditing Manual.

The COA started to notice that it was Casas who signed most of the documents in 2019.

Casas, in an interview, said the mayor issued a memorandum in 2019 delegating him the authority. The memorandum was also confirmed by the Cebu City Council by passing a resolution, he said.

The Cebu City Council resolution was approved on July 9, 2019, saying “the exigency of the services and to provide the best public service for the constituents of the City of Cebu.”

The COA said delegating the task to Casas runs contrary to Section 20 of the Republic Act 3857, or the Revised Charter of the City of Cebu, which states that one of the functions of the mayor is “to represent the city in all its business matters and sign in its behalf all its bonds, contracts, and obligations made in accordance with the laws or ordinances.”

The state auditors provided an example -- the City’s disbursements above P25 million. The majority of the attached documents were not signed by the mayor, but by the city administrator.

“It can be inferred that the authority and responsibility over those documents were already shifted from the city mayor to the city administrator,” the COA report said.

The COA said this is a manifestation of “weakness” of the City’s Internal Control System that could give rise to different risks.

Casas said there is no law, rule or regulation prohibiting the mayor to delegate his authority to him.

Casas said this is also a way to assist the mayor. He said every day many documents need to be signed.

“Imagina ang inyohang mayor way laing buhat, sige nala’g pinirmahay, di na kahimo sa mga importane nga buluhaton sa syudad (Imagine your mayor will focus on signing the documents, he can no longer focus on other things need to be addressed),” said Casas.

Casas said even though he has delegated tasks, he still consults the mayor, especially about documents that involve big programs. (JJL)


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