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Ginatasan! Philracom execs ordered to return P6M used for airline tix, cellphone load, ham, queso de bola, SM Gift Pass, Christmas tokens, toll fees, PR

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The Commission on Audit has ordered Philippine Racing Commission Chair Andrew A. Sanchez, six commissioners and several executives to return a total of P6 million used illegally for their personal benefit ranging from meals to travel tickets to cellphone load in 2018.

In its annual audit report, 90 percent of the “irregular expenses” were incurred by Sanchez and six other commissioners: Ramon S. Bagatsing Jr., Lyndon Noel B. Guce, Bienvenido C. Niles Jr., Jose P.G. Santillan Jr., Victor V. Tantoco, and Wilfredo Jefferson A. de Ungria.

Sanchez and the commissioners were ordered to reimburse a total of P6.051 million per diem and allowances that were “incurred without legal basis; no sufficient documents supporting the validity thereof and erroneously charged to Prizes account since the expenses incurred were in effect not related to promotional activities.”

COA said the Chair exceeded his monthly allowance and per diem by P3.072 million while the six commissioners overshot theirs by P2.93 million.

COA also flagged the P48,000 their legal consultant charged to Philracom in meetings with the Office of the Solicitor General. COA said the charges were charged for were incurred a) without legal basis; b) no sufficient documents supporting the validity thereof and c) erroneously charged to Prizes account since the expenses incurred were charged for their meals meals, media promotions, gasoline, parking and toll fees.

COA ordered the refund of P.102 million in foreign travel expenses by Philracom officials and staff due to “incomplete documentation, incurrence of unnecessary and costly traveling expenses, and excessive daily subsistence allowance.”

COA questioned why Philracom sent two officials for one foreign event for the same purpose – Guce and Alejandro C. Cambay, Jr.’s travel on May 13-18, 2018 to Seoul, South Korea for the “37th Asian Racing Conference”; and Bagatsing and Nile on October 4-10, 2018 for the 52nd “International Conference of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA).

“The said practice was very costly and not beneficial on the part of the government especially the purpose of the travel was just to attend conferences and international races in different places of which no back to office reports submitted to assess the necessity of the travels,” COA said.

Aside from the bosses, COA also ordered Philracom employees to return:

* P.265 million in overtime fees that exceeded the allowable 50 percent limit of employees based on their annual salaries.

* P210,408 million that were diverted to Philracom’s Christmas celebration at Carmona, Cavite and the purchase of perfumes, alcoholic beverages and tokens given to employees from other government agencies.

*P88,000 to buy 730 pieces of SM Gift Passes and 73 shirts due to lack of legal authority

* P54,000 for the purchases of 80 pieces of Purefoods sweet ham and 80 pieces of Magnolia queso de bola

* P.126 million in Globe pre-paid load granted to legal consultant and Philracom Commissioners without legal basis.

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