COA temporarily lifts P79.9-M notice of disallowance vs ER Ejercito
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) temporarily lifted the notice of disallowance it earlier issued against former Laguna governor ER Ejercito's cash advances, amounting to P79.94 million pesos for intelligence and confidential activities from 2011 to 2013.
A notice of disallowance is issued when a transaction is found to be non-compliant with existing rules. Hence, the person or department liable is required to refund the amount in question.
COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito explained that the earlier evaluation was incomplete because some evidence submitted by Ejercito were not fully considered.
COA ordered the lifting of the notice of disallowance only to grant Ejercito due process by reviewing his most recent submissions.
"A perusal and evaluation of the documents submitted by Governor Estregan, which have been overlooked on audit, is called for, in deference to his right to due process. Hence, it is proper to conduct an audit anew of the documents submitted by Governor Estregan, as recommended by ICFAU Director (Mario) Lipana," COA said.
However, it clarified that the lifting of the notice of disallowance does not prevent the issuance of another one if warranted by the re-audit.
The notice was issued on March 2, 2016, after auditors questioned the use of confidential and intelligence funds even as the Philippine National Police has certified Laguna to be a "generally peaceful community."
Other grounds included:
- It was improper to include maintenance and operating expenses, grants, donations, and monetary assistance in the Peace and Order Program
- required documents were not submitted, such as the annual approved investment plan and the accomplishment reports for the Department of the Interior and Local Government
- undated support documents like liquidation reports for 2012 and 2013.