14
Sep
09

COA SPECIAL AUDIT REPORT ON LGU BULAN, SORSOGON RELEASED

The Commission on Audit (COA) released last August 8, 2009 the 143-page Special Audit Report on Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bulan, Sorsogon.  The special audit stemmed from letter request dated January 17, 2008 of Mr. Romeo H. Valeriano, former COA auditor and member of the Sorsogon Crusade for Good Government of Bulan, Sorsogon.  The said audit was pursuant to Office Order No. 2008-05-18 dated May 27, 2008, wherein the COA thru the Office of the Team Leader of LGS Masbate led by Mr. Ross A. Obejas, State Auditor IV and his audit team have conducted an audit investigation on LGU Bulan, Sorsogon covering Calandar Years 2006, 2007 and 2008 on the following areas:

  • Construction of the Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal
  • Construction of the Slaughterhouse; and
  • Income/revenue from Operations of LGU’s heavy equipment

The Findings and Observation of the special audit are as follows:

  1. The Municipal Government of Bulan, Sorsogon failed to submit Monthly Report of Official Travels and the corresponding report of Fuel Consumption of government motor vehicle in violation of pertinent provisions of Section 361 of the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual (GAAM) Vol. I.
  2. The Municipal Government of Bulan, Sorsogon failed to secure/apply for Land Use Conversion and Exemption Clearance from Agrarian Reform Regional Office of the lot donated by Mrs. Anecita O. De Castro property with an area of one (1) hectare on the site of Bulan Bus  Terminal located at Brgy. Fabrica, Bulan, Sorsogon in violation of DAR Administrative Order (AO) No. 1 series of 2002 and AO NO. 6, series of 1994 as amended by AO No. 4, series of 2003, respectively.
  3. Construction of Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal at Brgy. Fabrica, Bulan, Sorsogon showed an accomplishment of 99.42% showing a deficiency of 0.58% unaccomplished or an equivalent amount of P191,536.13 for refund/completion by the Contractor.
  4. The Municipal Engineer of Bulan, Sorsogon failed to strictly observe and conform to the policy, standard and guidelines in the establishment, construction, improvement, and operation of Bulan Slaughterhouse/Abbatoir pursuant to Executive Order No. 137 series of 1993.
  5. The Feasibility/Investment study conducted by DPEM Inc. failed to realize what was projected and envisioned as far as financial and economic viability of Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal project is concerned.
  6. Construction of Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal and Slaughterhouse as published on the “Philippine Star” dated September 15 and 22, 2006 issues states that funding source was through Municipal Bond Issue in the amount of P33 million and P5million respectively, while on the contrary, said twin projects was funded through a loan from LBP in the amount of P38,486,744.52 dated September 10, 2007 to refinance the same.
  7. Premature conversion activities were undertaken by LGU Bulan, Sorsogon of a Riceland donated by Mrs. Anecita O. De Castro to be developed into a Bus Terminal from October 4, 2006 prior to awarding of the contract to S.R. Baldon Construction and Supply on December 11, 2006.
  8. Bond Flotation semi-annual interest from December 05, 2006 to December 05, 2007 in the amount of P3.436 million could have been saved had the municipal government of Bulan, Sorsogon set-aside bond flotation as the mode of financing the project, although as a consequence a loan agreement made, executed and notarized on September 03, 2007 by and between LGU Bulan, Sorsogon and LBP Legazpi Branch, to refinance the same project.
  9. LGU of Bulan, Sorsogon failed to post a procurement opportunity with the PhilGEPS in violation of Section 8-IRR-A of Republic Act No. 9184.

Details of the abovementioned findings and observations, including COA’s recommendations and comments of the LGU will be posted on the succeeding blog entries.

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5 Responses to “COA SPECIAL AUDIT REPORT ON LGU BULAN, SORSOGON RELEASED”


  1. 1 tagabulan
    September 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The COA audit report is a vindication of the people of Bulan clamoring for transparency about the construction of the two anomalous projects. The De Castros can’t hide inside the Pandora’s Box forever.

  2. 2 PIO-Bulan
    October 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Good Morning to all!

    The LGU is given ninety (90 days)to justify its position vis-avis the COA Special Audit Report. This is procedural and substantive due process. It must be remembered that this right to due process is enshrined in our Constitution. The Terminal issue is a justiciable issue which only the courts of the land can finally adjudicate. This battle can go on up to the Supreme Court, and by then we shall know who speaks the truth. Only then can one or the other party say that he is vindicated. There is no Pandora’s Box here.

    No one among us can impute guilt against anybody, unless proven by the Court. Again, this is a constitutionally-enshrined provision.

    It is understandable for anybody with a political motive, for the purpose of the coming elections, especially if he is from the political opposition in Bulan to destroy the credibility of the Administration of Mayor Helen de Castro. There is nothing wrong to this since we are in a democratic country. But we know that any level-headed person, instructed in the workings of our law, knows that the courts of the land is the final arbiter of legal controversies.

    We believe in the ability and maturity of the people of Bulan, on their good judgment. The people of Bulan know that when politicians speak, there is always a motive behind it. Who to believe is another matter.

    Thank you for this space. We hope it shall indeed be a forum for democratic exchange of ideas.

  3. 3 choy
    October 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal is a “TRASH” project of Mayor Helen De Castro.

  4. 4 bulaneno
    October 31, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    To PIO-Bulan:

    The issue about the Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal and the Bulan Municipal Slaughterhouse particularly the audit findings of the Commission on Audit is not a political issue. It is an issue about public accountability and graft and corruption. To quote your comment to this blog, you posted: “The Terminal issue is a justiciable issue which only the courts of the land can finally adjudicate. This battle can go on up to the Supreme Court, and by then we shall know who speaks the truth. Only then can one or the other party say that he is vindicated. There is no Pandora’s Box here. No one among us can impute guilt against anybody, unless proven by the Court. Again, this is a constitutionally-enshrined provision.”

    Though it is a “justiciable issue” the Municipal Information Officer of Bulan should be reminded that the accountability of public officials is also enshrined in the Constitution of 1987, as it has been in the Malolos Constitution of 1898, the Commonwealth Constitution of 1935 and then the Constitution of 1973, the Martial Law period. Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, entitled “Accountability of Public Officers”, states the fundamental principle of public office, as public trust. It requires full accountability and integrity among public officers and employees. The President, Vice-President, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Commissions and the Ombudsman may be impeached for violations of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, and for betrayal of public trust. Other public officials committing such acts can be investigated and prosecuted through the regular judicial process provided by law.

    The Philippine government is directed to maintain honesty and integrity in the public service, and to take action against graft and corruption (Section 27, Art. II). It is also directed to give full public disclosure of all transactions involving the public interest (Section 28, Art. II). This provision is complemented by the Bill of Rights within the Constitution, which gives people the right to information on matters of public concern, including official records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, and to government research data used as the basis for policy development (Section 7, Art. III).

    The 1987 Constitution established special independent bodies to support the principles of honesty, integrity and public accountability. These are: (i) the Office of the Ombudsman as the people’s protector and watchdog; (ii) the Civil Service Commission as the central personnel agency; (iii) the Commission on Audit as the supreme body responsible for auditing the government’s expenditures and performance; and (iv) The Sandiganbayan as a special court that hears cases of graft and corruption. To ensure that these organizations and their commissioners can fulfill their duties without fear of reprisal from other agencies of the government, the Constitution grants them fiscal autonomy7 (Section 2, Article VIII). Their actions are appealable only to the Supreme Court.

    The Commission on Audit, while primarily regarded as an evaluator of the government’s performance in handling funds, also has as a function on the input side, as it conducts audits on the income and revenues of government. Aside from ensuring financial accountability, the Commission may also inquire as to the effectiveness and impact of programs, and not alone into the economy, efficiency or the legality and regularity of government operations. The COA, being the watchdog of the financial operations of the government, is empowered to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property under the custody of government agencies and instrumentalities. It promulgates accounting and auditing rules and regulations for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or use of government funds and properties.

    As government officials, the local chief executive and her subordinates must not be onion-skinned in addressing valid queries on the efficiency, legality and regularity of local government operations such as the operations of the bus terminal and slaughterhouse. As public officers and employees, they must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. They must refrain from invoking that the findings of COA involve questions of law that must be addressed only in a court of law. Some of the findings of COA involves questions of facts such as: (a) failure to submit monthly report of official travels and report of fuel consumption of government vehicles; (b) failure to secure or apply for land use conversion and exemption clearance from the Agrarian Reform Regional Office; (c) failure to strictly observe and conform to the policy, standard and guidelines in the establishment, construction, improvement, and operation of Bulan Slaughterhouse; (d) failure to post a procurement opportunity with the PhilGEPS, to mention a few. These are clear facts that were discovered during the COA audit that the LGU had neglected or failed to perform in the implementation of the projects.

    It should be noted that corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the unfair provision of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.

    Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government.

    Thus, as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines, or as an ordinary citizen of Bulan, I recognize that the struggle for preventing and fighting graft and corruption in government is a task entrusted not only with the government, but also with the civil society. It doesn’t need a citizen belonging to the local political opposition of Bulan to understand the social implications of the audit findings of COA to the ordinary Bulaneños. Corruption distorts access to services for the poor, results in local government’s poor performance and, consequently, low public confidence in government. The culture of corruption in Bulan breeds the vicious cycles of poverty and underdevelopment.

  5. 5 Kbb+Iguy
    November 3, 2009 at 1:24 am

    first of all, thnks for all this very hard facts you presented online. I myself had been an ardent student, disecting the Phil. Constitution into pieces, rain or shine, all the By Laws, etc..untill i get sick and tired of doing so cause the written “constitution” were there to be memorized for us students, to be debated upon yet it remained solely for that purpose. WRITTEN. BE READ. STUDIED AND BE MENTIONED IN PUBLICE OFFICE BUT THEY ARE IN FACT DEACTIVE, PRINTED FOR NO PURPOSE. WHICH WAY TO GO FROM HERE?? COUNTLESS OFFICIAL CASES SHOWED US :
    NOWHERE!

    Secondly, its an illusion of centuries to expect any transparency of sorts in a government ruled, manned and supported by filipinos in general. how could transparency of govt. projects/budgets (manipulated or not) be slightly ever be credible to any voters of this country??Who ever would believe its true? Please tell me, who will, how many constituents and when???? Did it ever happen? I believe Kris Aquino but not the constitution! ;)

    Sacred Trust within and with each other (pinoy as a race) has long been almost..non existent.
    Even among friends, a bestfriend pinoy always stay in doubt what an honest (converted by intl. residency and experiences) pinoyfriend has to tell.

    Trust is a very important factor for us to mature, work effectively together, develop and consequently through constant practice produces “progress”.

    Despite continued, traditional Corruption in the govt. and the lingering Desperation for our countrymen, lets not give up!! Lets not give up in pursuing to contribute in our own simple ways to give some vibrant colors, new positive insights, constructive ideas through blogging, HELP- community building, learning wherever we may be as a bulaneno with lingering belief to rebuild, reshape or improve Bulan, in any other forms we can as an individual or as a group…after all, i believe that constant good will pull positive thoughts convertible to (less corrupted?) acts later on….

    Or could we try electing a known “honest” politician to a higher mandate for another TRY in 2010? Why not? Lets vote first honestly. let the guilty corrupt people pay the price on its own.
    Bahala na sira sa kanira nagkahirimu na maraot. Kwarta lang yuon. Nawawara man lang gihapon sa kinab-an!

    PEACE!


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