• COA: PTA exec liable for P25-M ghost purchase

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    THE Commission on Audit (COA) has approved with finality the P25-million liability of a former engineer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) for the ghost delivery of the construction materials supposedly for a drainage project on Boracay Island.

    Top auditors junked the motion for reconsideration of Engr. Armando Miranda for lack of merit five months after they rendered a decision finding him liable for the non-delivery of equipment.

    The COA en banc in its resolution said the since the motion for reconsideration lacked merit, the decision rendered in July 2013 was final.

    The engineer’s case stemmed from the observation of auditors who inspected a drainage component of the P94.18-million Boracay Environmental Infrastructure Project in 2006.

    The former Philippine Tourism Authority official entered into a memorandum of agreement with Global-V Builders Co. and advanced P35.2 million in 2007 for the construction material as part of the 80 percent of the total P44 million.

    In August 2007, Global-V as checked by Tieza officials said there was a remaining balance of P25.21 million.

    In an ocular inspection, the audit team discovered that the P25.21-million construction materials “were nowhere to be found.”

    “The representative from both Global-V and Tieza failed to provide the location of the warehouse or stockyard where the materials were supposed to be stored,” the decision read.

    The en banc added that there appeared “to be a connivance between some Tieza officers and Global-V” for the payment of non-existing materials.

    Initially Engrs. Lydia Cosuco and Laura Garcia were dragged into the fray but the COA en banc cleared them of any liabilities due to good faith. Miranda was not excluded and found liable.

    In his defense, Miranda said that as of May 16, 2008, he was already moved to his original position as manager of the physical planning department.

    COA, however, did not consider this excuse, saying that Miranda issued the me- morandum approving the payment of P25.21 million in December 2006.

    Additionally, a 2009 memorandum which Miranda issued, stating that his memorandum in 2006 was a mere opinion, “confirmed that the documents pertaining to the construction materials were not yet com- plete when submitted for his approval.”

    The COA also junked his motion for reconsideration filed after the issuance of the decision “for lack of merit.”

    “There are no new matters and evidence raised that would warrant the reversal or modification of the assailed decision,” the COA resolution read.

    COA Chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan and Commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Rowena Guanzon issued both decision and resolution.

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