IF the Securities and Exchange Commission is unable to efficiently monitor the activities of non-stock, non-profit organizations operating in this country, don’t blame the agency’s rank-and-file workers. Try asking Chairperson Teresita Herbosa and the four other commissioners if they are too overworked to look into the operations of these entities, known today as NGOs or non-government organizations.
As the public and taxpayers who are forced to finance corrupt administrations, don’t expect any response from Herbosa and company. Probably, they know Code NGO only in name but not how its leaders, particularly Corazon Soliman, manage its donated funds.
Of course, as most of you know, Soliman was the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare during the Arroyo administration and was eventually “pirated” by President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino 3rd. She must possess much intelligence in charting strategies to help the poor that she easily shifted loyalty from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Aquino. She was a member of the so-called—or was it infamous?—Hyatt 10.
Remember how Soliman cried when then Vice President Noli “Boy” de Castro was being groomed by the Arroyo administration to replace her? Did she cry because she was losing a government job? More importantly, were her tears for real?
Again, as the public and taxpayers, you should think again, this time more deeply than before. Had Soliman lost the cabinet position, she would have severed her government connection that had enabled her to raise funds from local and foreign sources for her Code NGO.
Code NGO was very resourceful in seeking donations that even the Commission on Human Rights gave it P319,275 in 2009. The following year, CHR gave even much more of its budget: P1,675,934.
Try dividing this amount by P319,275 and the dividend would tell you CHR’s 2010 charity translated to 5.249 times what the commission gave Code NGO in 2009. The huge increase was equivalent to 424.919 percent.
Rosetta Ann Rosales was CHR chairperson in 2010 and Leila de Lima in 2009. De Lima is now Justice Secretary of the Aquino administration. Like Soliman, she has shown how easy it was to be loyal to two presidents even if her present post’s benefactor has the protection of family jewel Hacienda Luisita for its personal agenda.
Documents obtained by The Manila Times show Code NGO’s funders.
Including CHR’s donation, Code NGO also received from local donors a total of P1,045,826 in 2009 and P4,242,658 in 2010.
Foreign donors proved more generous to Code NGO. Six of them gave it P5,911,249 in 2009 while seven donated P7,133,496 for a total of P13,044,745. Combined, local and foreign grants that Code NGO raised in 2009 and 2010 totaled P18,421,980.
Yes, Code NGO has had too much money because it has perfected the art of begging. Imagine, it even succeeded in milking the government, thru CHR, of its much needed money. Due Diligencer would not know how CHR ended up the biggest donor in 2010.
Has the government money, along with private donations, been spent wisely? This is the question that would never be answered by simply going over Code NGO’s financials audited by Punongbayan and Araullo in 2007 and by other auditing firms in succeeding years. What if there were hidden numbers and thus not reported to the external auditors? Who would check these “secret accounts?
To protect donors’ money to Code NGO and other NGOs, the SEC should—and must if only to emphasize the need—lay down a stricter policy in reviewing their finances. Then, as the government’s corporate watchdog, the commission may want to form a separate unit manned by CPAs whose main task would be to review Code NGO’s audited financial statements.
For a start, CPAs who would be assigned to review Code NGO’s audited reports should start with finding out who benefited from about P2 million in advances that were eventually wiped off. The donors should be informed who benefited from these advances and why Code NGO did not collect them. Didn’t Soliman and company know that donations should be fully accounted for so that the benefactors of Code NGO and similar organizations could appreciate where their money went?
If you gave money to Code NGO, you would want to know where your donation went. To show you where, here is a financial filing in 2007 and 2006: “Grants and donations amounted to P26,275,630 in 2006 and P15,406,974 in 2007. Including investment income, apparently from the controversial Peace bonds, and other sources, revenues totaled P4,887,053 and P31,250,574 in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
Despite these donations, Code NGO reported “deficiency of revenues over expenses” of P7,007,236 in 2006 and P303,901 in 2007. How this has happened or been allowed to happen could only be made known to the public if the SEC would seriously consider forming a task force NGO.