Paranaque City’s unsettled funds hit P125M
4 ex-mayors have yet to submit liquidation reports, says COA
By Cynthia D. Balana, Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Four former Parañaque mayors have yet to liquidate a total of P125.6 million worth of intelligence funds, causing the city’s unliquidated cash advance for 2012 to balloon to up to P201.996 million.
According to the latest audit report on local governments released on Sept. 2 by the Commission on Audit (COA), Florencio Bernabe Jr. who was mayor from 2004 until June 29 this year had the biggest accountability with P97 million worth of unliquidated expenditures, including the P45 million drawn during his last year in office alone.
Joey Marquez (1998 to 2004) was next with P23,073,540, followed by Walfrido Ferrer (1988 to 1992) with over P3.5 million and Pablo Olivarez (1992 to 1995) with P2,025,000.
“The consolidated balance of P201,996,344.65 is inclusive of the P125,617,523 cash advances drawn by the following officials for intelligence fund, the liquidation of which is contingent on the issuance of the covering Credit Notice by the COA Central Office,” the report said.
A credit notice serves as a certification that the expenditure report on the intelligence funds has been reviewed by COA and found to be regular or proper.
The audit agency warned the Parañaque City treasurer and accountant to stop granting cash advances to disbursement officers still in active service unless the previous allocations had been fully settled.
“In case of failure to comply, we have recommended that their salaries [be withheld] without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges against them,” COA said.
Reached for comment, Bernabe told the Inquirer in a text message that he would check with the city finance department whose or which department’s unliquidated cash advances the COA report was referring to.
City administrator Ding Soriano, meanwhile, said they were considering ways to go after those liable for the unliquidated cash advances.
He told the Inquirer that the city has P3.8-billion worth of outstanding loans and payables incurred by the previous administration. Some of the funds were used in constructing the still unfinished Hall of Justice, he added.
While the Land Bank of the Philippines has granted a moratorium on the payment of the principal of the loan, Soriano said the city government was looking for ways to address its dire financial condition.
“We have to comply with the COA rules. We have to liquidate these expenses,” he added.