Leni Robredo

OVP gets highest COA rating in 2019 audit

Mara Cepeda

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Vice President Leni Robredo's office gets an 'unqualified opinion' from state auditors for the second straight year, which means its financial statements are in order

The office of Vice President Leni Robredo received the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2019.

In a statement on Sunday, September 6, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) said COA gave an “unqualified opinion” in response to its financial report last year. The COA report, which is now available on the agency’s website, was signed on July 13 by supervising auditor Edna Salaguban.

This is the second straight year that the OVP received the highest audit rating, which COA gives when a government office has fairly presented its financial position and has its financial statements in order, in accordance with the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Robredo credited her staff for the stellar rating they received from COA.

“Ang gusto nating pasalamatan dito iyong ating mga staff – lalo na iyong admin – na sila talaga nag-aasikaso ng ating mga proseso. Salamat sa lahat na OVP family kasi pinagtulungan natin ito lahat,” said the Vice President, whose net worth rose to P3.5 million in 2019.

(I want to thank my staff – especially those in the admin – because they really are the ones who take care of our processes. Thank you to everyone in the OVP family because we worked on this together.)

The Vice President then said all government offices should strive to get an “unqualified opinion” from COA.

“Kasi kapag ina-aspire mo na magkaroon ka ng unqualified opinion, sinisiguro mo na iyong lahat na proseso mo malinis, hindi ka nalulusutan, maayos lahat iyong papeles, maayos lahat iyong proseso,” she added.

(Because when you aspire to get an unqualified opinion, you’re making sure that all of your processes are clean, that nothing gets past you, that all of your papers are documented, and your processes are in order.)

The OVP improved its financial reports to COA in 2018 and 2019 compared to its submissions in previous years.

In 2017, COA pointed out delays in the liquidation of office trip expenses, as well as unused or excess cash advances that were not immediately refunded by Robredo’s staff.

In 2016, the audit commission said the OVP underspent in its financial assistance to indigent Filipinos. The first half of that year was the windup of the tenure of then-vice president Jejomar Binay, while the newly elected Robredo took over in the next 6 months.  (READ: Robredo on ‘underspending’: OVP funds went to calamity victims, the poor)

Then, in 2015, COA flagged multiple procurements of relief goods under Binay which went through negotiated contracts and not through public biddings. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.