September 24, 2021

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Bulan, Sorsogon COA Report Part 2 : “Numbers tell more stories”

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Part 2: Numbers has stories

In the Statement of Management Responsibility for Financial Statements signed on March 22, 2021, by Municipal Mayor Romeo Gordola it said, to quote “management maintains a system of accounting and reporting which provides for the necessary internal controls to ensure that transactions are properly authorized and recorded, assets are safeguarded and against unauthorized use or disposition and liabilities are recognized,” unquote.

With the statement, the granting and liquidation of cash advances that it should be liquidated at the end of each year as a liability was not recognized. Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code states in an unequivocal term that …” that the failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal uses” this was explicit in the audit report.

In a presentation of unliquidated cash advance for the General Fund is 539,096.56 pesos, ending the same amount for 2020. For GF advances to payroll, it amounted to 1,859, 908.10 pesos, that of Trust Fund (TF) is 5,813,683.57 or 7,673,591.97 pesos.

Cash advances for Special Disbursing Officer recorded in the GF the amount is 31,561,710.53 pesos while for the Special Education Fund (SEF) it was 101,816 pesos and that of Trust Fund the amount was 22,268,208.95 or 53,931,735.48 in all.

The advances of officers and employees in GF it was (634,142.09) but for the SEF the amount was 1,418,341.25 and for TF was 6,180.00, total amount was 790,739.16.

The aging of the cash advances as summarized by the audit report is as follows; Current year for GF for 0-30 days amounted to 983,808.04, SEF 101,816.00, TF was 144,912.62, totaling 2,029,743.66 representing 3.23%.

For 31-90 days TF unsettled amount was 132,192.00

For the aging, for 91 to 365 days the GF has 11,580.00 while TF has the bulk of 16,985,532.31. Both accounts totaled 16,997,912.31.

For over 1 year, GF, SEF and TF unsettled amount is 2,370,047.78, for over 2 years GF and TF have 1,377,522.16.

In this particular, the report stated that there were cash advances aged three years and above pertain to cash advances granted in CY 2017 and prior years which remain unsettled as of December 31, 2020.

Gordola was elected 2019 and this obligation was inherited by his administration.

Relevant observations in the audit were the explanation of management that the municipal accountant was precluded from demanding the liquidation of the long-standing cash advances because they encountered difficulties to retrieve relevant documents to issue demand letters from Accountable Officers(AO) for some are already separated and others dead. Noting that the practice of granting advances to AOs with prior unliquidated advances exposed the possibility of utilizing the amount to settle the previous accountability is but one of the few observations in the report.

Referencing the Annual Audit Report (AAR) for CY 2019 in Observation No. 3 pages 43, it said that management should direct the Municipal Treasurer to immediately deposit all un-deposited collections particularly the balance of 9.97 million pesos as of year-end and to see to it that all collections are deposited daily and intact as mandated. This recommendation was not acted by management.