Comelec HR officer held liable for unliquidated cash advances
MANILA, Philippines – A human resources officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was held liable by the Commission on Audit (COA) for failing to liquidate nearly P11-million worth of cash advances (around $246,000) for election expenses in 2007.
On Monday, February 17, COA junked the request of Comelec HR Management Officer II Mila Casimiro for relief from liability. Casimiro claimed she submitted a liquidation report for the cash advances, but it supposedly vanished during processing.
"The fact-finding investigation panel tasked by Comelec to investigate the mysterious loss of the liquidation report recommended to 'direct Mila Casimiro to reconstitute her documents.' There is no evidence on record to show Ms. Casimiro's compliance," said COA chairperson Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan and Commissioner Heidi Mendoza in their 5-page decision.
Even if Casimiro's request for relief was endorsed by the Comelec's Personnel Department and even by COA's General Public Services Cluster, COA did not grant her petition because Casimiro was unable to recover the receipts and other proof that the cash advance was spent properly.
COA also said that vouchers from people who received money from Casimiro taken from the cash advance – for honoraria, mobilization fees and other miscellaneous expenses – could have been submitted as proof, but she was still unable to do so.
For the 2007 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in Tawi-Tawi, Casimiro was designated as special disbursing officer and received P10,977,140 in cash advances for election expenses.
She submitted her liquidation report to the Comelec Finance Services Department Director Gideon de Guzman. He received and reviewed her report, but he said it mysteriously disappeared from his desk before he could forward it to the Comelec's accounting division. (READ: When Brillantes blew his top over funds)
Under existing COA regulations, cash advances must, as a rule, be liquidated within the prescribed periods depending on the nature and purpose of the cash advance. – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com