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COA flags delays in senators, employees’ liquidation of P11.6M cash advances

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The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the senators and Senate employees’ belated liquidation of P11.56 million in cash advances, or 92% of the total granted last year.

In its 2017 annual audit report, the COA said the failure to immediately account for the advances after the completion of the purpose “caused the unnecessary exposure of government funds to risk of being lost through theft or misappropriations.”

The cash advances were only settled two to 136 days past the 20-day deadline.

These include P7.51 million in cash advances for various official travels to New York City, Moscow, Dhaka, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, Vienna, and Canberra.

Also delayed was the liquidation of cash advances for parties, family and sports activities, women’s month and Senate anniversary celebrations, State of the Nation Address (SONA) preparations, uniform expenses, and employee awards.

Simiarily, P4.25 million, or 99%, of the P4.29-million excess cash advances was returned three to 143 days past the deadline.

Auditors noted that “any unspent or no longer needed amount must be immediately returned or refunded to the Collecting Officer” as required by COA Circular Number 97-002.

The COA said the Deputy Secretary of the Administrative and Financial Services should be required to ensure that pertinent rules on the grant and liquidation of cash advances were strictly complied with.

It added that the Director of the Financial Management Bureau and the Chief of the Legislative Accounting Service should monitor and assess the status of the cash advances.

Should the accountable officers fail to liquidate the balances despite repeated demands, the COA recommended the suspension of their salaries until the outstanding amounts were settled.