Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Overhauling of COA audit practices and procedures needed-Trillanes

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, February 23, 2011-Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV said that to cover up massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), there is a need for the overhauling of the audit rules and regulations to improve the practices and procedures in the Commission on Audit (COA), following revelations of an alleged conspiracy between state auditors and former high-ranking military officials.

Trillanes has filed Senate Resolution No. 390 to review by the finance committee in regards to the existing laws governing the practices and responsibilities of state auditors and come up with legislation to help COA to fulfill its constitutional mandate in connection with the ongoing investigation into the plea bargain agreement between prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, saying that the auditor and former COA commissioner are allegedly benefited from the wide-scale anomaly involving AFP funds conversion.

“The statement of former AFP budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa who manifested that former COA Commissioner Raul Flores and Divina Cabrera, then resident auditor with the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), allegedly received two (2%) percent of converted funds from erring officials in exchange for their cooperation,” Trillanes cited.

He said that it was also revealed in the senate blue ribbon committee investigation that Cabrera had allegedly sought the help of Rabusa to destroy documents showing how funds for personnel services (PS) or salary of the ISAFP personnel were spent for other purposes in fear that these might be discovered.

“I am concern over Cabrera’s own admission that she had knowledge of the practice of converting military funds but saw nothing irregular in the ISAFP book of accounts based on the documents that were submitted to her,” Trillanes said, explaining that Cabrera’s testimony was a clear violation of agency’s rules and regulations that she was resident auditor of the ISAFP for 13 years (1991-2005).

Trillanes furthered that COA’s resolution No. 87-6 set forth the limit of stay of auditor in a particular agency to a limit of three years only, saying that this is highly irregular and anomalous.

In 2009, 26 state auditors were either dismissed or suspended for administrative cases stemming from irregularities in the performance of duties, 37 auditors have pending cases with the COA chairman’s office while last year, 21 auditors were dismissed or suspended and 46 more have pending cases. Thus, the Senator reiterated that there is a need for a thorough study in auditing rules and regulations to strengthen the practices and procedures within COA and address the obvious gaps by crafting a new law.

The Senator said that the COA is mandated to manage, utilize and safeguard government resources from illegal or improper disposition to ensure efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the government operations. (Jason de Asis)

Laguna Solons impressed by Aurora’s nature

BALER, Aurora, February 23, 2011-Laguna 1st district representative Dan Fernandez and 2nd district congressman Timmy Chipeco expressed here their big surprised in Aurora’s nature rainforest  compared to their province in Laguna.

In their official visit, they shared that the province is really a prime spot for mountain climbing and nature trekking activities due to its large forest reserve areas where its vast lowlands and foothills and the presence of green Sierra Madre Ranges aside from the bountiful beauty of the beaches, coves, rivers and a destiny for surfing, adding that the variety of terrain coupled with the abundance of clear streams, waterfalls and vegetation can make for a trekking experience as unique and challenging and even bird watching as one can plan.

“Your province is truly a haven compared to our place in Laguna; hence, there is a need to preserve its richness,” the two solons said, adding that Aurora has the largest rain forests in Luzon.

They said that the province has been blessed by God for having a beautiful nature and the best leader like Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Congressman Juan Edgardo Angara and Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo who received prestigious awards in the country.

“The villagers of the province are very lucky for having them,” the duo said, saying that they are the real leaders who have build credibility and integrity in the line of service for the people. (Jason de Asis)


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