House spent nearly P1B on consultants in 2015 – COA
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives spent nearly P1 billion on consultancy services in 2015, according to a Commission on Audit report.
Based on data provided in the chamber’s Financial Statements, the House hired 3,150 consultants who were paid a total of P929,408,901.15 in 2015, according to COA.
State auditors said the 2015 consultancy services expense was 55% higher compared to 2014, when the House spent P599,828,535.47 on 2,145 consultants.
The 2015 figure is higher than the 3-year combined costs of consultancy services for 2011 to 2013 which totaled P890,334,709.42.
Despite the more than double consultancy expenses in 2015, the COA issued no adverse findings regarding it.
COA said consultancy services comprise all fees for consultants whose services are engaged by the House Members for purposes of providing assistance in drafting bills, research, and other technical legislative works."
It also cover "all consultants retained by the Oversight Committees to perform various administrative, technical, and research works necessary in carrying out its legislative mandate."
COA said the increase year-on-year amounted to P329,580,365.68 – attributed to hiring of consultants for “additional House members.”
Upon verification, however, the House membership in 2015 had 3 less members compared to 2014, or to 287 lawmakers from 290.
The hired consultants were in addition to the 93 officials (secretary seneral, deputy secretary-general, sergeant-at-arms, executive directors, and subdirectors), 1,830 congressional staff, and 1,570 committee secretariats staff.
According to the breakdown of expenses, funds for consultants were sourced from the maintenance and other operating expenses while the rest of the manpower drew their compensation from the personal services budget of the House.
Here is a summary of the House expenditure report on consultancy services for the last 5 years:
• 2011 - P306,723,463.52 (1,218 consultants)
• 2012 - P294,826,602.52 (1,194 consultants)
• 2013 - P288,784,643.38 (2,003 consultants)
• 2014 - P599,828,535.47 (2,145 consultants)
• 2015 - P929,408,901.15 (3,150 consultants)
Consultancy expenses during the said period totaled P2,419,572,146.04, with the bulk spent in the last two years, coinciding with Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is unconstitutional. – Rappler.com