The Commission on Audit (COA) has upheld a Notice of Disallowance (ND) issued in 2014 in connection with a P36.778-million financial assistance granted by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to the Bacolod Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (BASOC).
In a decision dated November 9, COA denied a petition for review filed in February 2015 by former BASOC Chairman Monico Puentevella after the National Government Sector (NGS) Cluster 1 affirmed the notice of disallowance in a decision in January 2015.
“After a careful evaluation, this commission finds the petition bereft of merit,” state auditors said.
The BASOC was formed when Bacolod City (Negros Occidental) was being considered as one of the venues for several 2005 SEA Games events.
Based on COA’s ruling, the PSC granted financial assistance to the BASOC totaling P50.5 million.
A special audit team, which evaluated BASOC’s liquidation report, issued a notice in 2010 that suspended in audit the amount of P41.6 million because of some alleged deficiencies.
In 2014, the then-supervising auditor at the PSC issued a notice that disallowed P36,778,105.44 because of supposed non-submission of the documents required under the said Notice of Suspension such as the original detailed plans/scope of work and specifications of projects.
Puentevella and former BASOC Secretary General Eric Loretizo were held liable under the ND for the disallowance.
According to COA, Puentevella argued, among others, “that BASOC did not have the luxury of enjoying the services of technical experts who could have fully and completely prepared the plans, specifications, drawings, scope of works, diagrams, detailed estimates, cost derivations, contract time and other technical documentation. Thus, BASOC had to rely on the rehabilitation proposals, quotations and/or estimates submitted by contractors/suppliers who reluctantly agreed to undertake rehabilitation and repair works due to the uncertainty and insufficiency of funding.”
But the commission found his arguments unavailing.
Citing Section 4 of the State Audit Code, it said, “From the foregoing, it is clear that submission of the pertinent documentary requirements is indispensable, whether or not the procurement was made through public bidding or any alternative mode of procurement. While petitioner submitted several documents furnished by the contractors/suppliers, the same were not sufficient to determine the reasonableness of the actual costs incurred by BASOC.”
“Considering that petitioner was signatory to the various infrastructure contracts, he should be made liable for the disallowance. Further, since no timely appeal has been filed by Mr. Loretizo, who is also among the persons held liable under the ND for having approved the above transactions, the disallowance has already become final as to him,” COA added.
It thus thumbed down Puentevella’s petition for review for lack of merit.
“Accordingly, Notice of Disallowance No. 2014-101- GF/NSFD-(05) dated January 30, 2014, on the grant of financial assistance by the Philippine Sports Commission to BASOC in the total amount of P36,778,105.44, is affirmed,” the commission said.
A notice of disallowance informs those concerned of their participation in the transactions disapproved in audit and that they have to refund the amount indicated in the notice.