This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) cleared a former accountant of Lipa City in Batangas in connection with the P293.12 million public market parking building project in 2017.
The COA Commission Proper upheld on Monday, September 4, the ruling of COA Calabarzon (Region 4A) to exclude Ma. Belen Villanueva from liability for the infrastructure project.
The case originated in 2014 when the Lipa City government entered into an agreement with Asset Builders Corporation (ABC) to construct the parking building.
However, the city’s audit team later discovered that there were insufficient funds for the project at the time when the contract was awarded to ABC. This prompted the city auditors to issue a notice of disallowance on April 22, 2014.
Several months following the said issuance, the city secured funding for the project on September 11, 2014.
The state auditors also flagged the extension of contract time from 548 to 719 days since it violated the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The COA report found unrealistic cost estimates, additional foreman, and an excessive 22% indirect cost rate, instead of 15%.
While the COA did not lift the disallowance, it acknowledged that Villanueva had been wrongly implicated, along with other officials, for signing a disbursement voucher on July 15, 2015.
When Villanueva signed the disbursement voucher, the loan from the Philippine Veterans Bank had already been released, justifying her certification for the project’s allocation.
COA said that the disallowance did not apply to Villanueva since the request for the project extension was made after the third progress billing had been paid.
The COA also pointed out that Villanueva was not liable for the implementation of the project since her responsibility was solely to ensure document completeness, not to evaluate document legality or the project’s execution. – Rappler.com