Jan 292013

The Senate will be turning over its financial documents to the Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday, Senate accounts committee chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.

“Ready na, nasa sa akin yung mga dokumento. Tamang-tama bukas mayroon kaming meeting with COA chair [Grace Pulido-Tan] so dadalin ko na tuloy,” Lacson told reporters.

He issued the statement after Tan in a letter asked that the Senate “make available” to them papers, documents and information connected to the augmentation and realignment of Senate funds.

Tan said the documents shall be used to “carry out a no-holds barred audit of the Senate finances.”

Lacson said that as of Tuesday 1 p.m., the available documents from the Senate accounting department are submissions from the offices of individual senators.

He said this will cover the years 2009 to 2012.

“Lahat lahat [ng financial documents]. Basta yung pondo ng mga individual senators nandoon, yun ang ituturn over ko bukas. Hindi ko pa rin nakikita kasi nandun nakakahon siya, naka-envelope siya pero as required, magco-comply kami,” he said.

“[Pero] wala pa yung sa Senate proper. Sabi ko madaliin nila, kailangan madala ko lahat,” he added.

Lacson said he will also meet with Tan to clarify some things in her letter.

“[Una] ano yung sakop nung hinihingi niyang mga dokumento? Pangalawa yung liquidation by certification or by submission of documents, receipts etc kung kailan dapat magsimula?” he said. 

“Of course alam namin effective immediately effective 2013 pero icocover ba nila yung past years na magrerequire ba ng magsubmit ng mga dokumento o mga liquidating instrument para malinaw but in any case kami nag-usap kami sa caucus na magpeprepare kami ng mga receipts na mare-retrieve namin para isama dun sa mga previous year kung anuman yung meron kami,” he added. 

Senate resolution

But despite the COA audit, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano still filed a resolution asking the Senate to authorize the conduct of a people’s audit or a joint or parallel audit of its budget accounts by a private and independent audit firm.

Cayetano first called for a parallel audit on Friday last week but he filed Senate Resolution 934 on Tuesday.

“Walang hadlang na legal, moral at administratibo man na magkaroon ng people’s audit,” he said.

“This isn’t an issue of bickering of senators. This is an issue of transparency and accountability. This isn’t simply an issue of money, this is an issue of the money of the people and how it is spent,” he added.

Cayetano reiterated, however, that he was not questionning the integrity and credibility of COA.

“If they [the Senate] will make the documents available naman to the public and to the media, that’s the kind of audit we are asking for,” he said.

Lacson said this resolution will still have to be referred to his committee and the committee on rules. But he said they will still have to discuss how to go about it.

“May kaunting problema yun because dahil sa committee ko marerefer necessarily I’ll be the one to sponsor it on the floor. I’ll be the one to defend it on the floor pero iba yung posisyon namin. So we will discuss how to go about the resolution filed by Sen. Alan,” he said.

Lacson is one of the senators who had earlier said that there may be some constitutional issues if the audit is done solely by an independent firm. — RSJ, GMA News

 Leave a Reply