PAO paid P4.8M for building plan and design without complete docs – COA

MANILA, Philippines – The Public Attorneys Office (PAO) paid a partial P4.8 million out of the total P12-million cost for a building plan and design with incomplete documents, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its 2017 audit report of PAO.

PAO was supposed to build its central office building on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and tapped the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for architectural and engineering designs. The contract was worth P12 million.

“Complete documentary requirements to support the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)…were not  submitted inconsistent with the provisions of the MOA, COA Circular No. 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012, COA Circular No. 2009-001 dated February 12, 2009, and Annex H of the Revised IRR of 9184,” the COA said in its annual audit report of PAO.

The COA added that because of the lack of documents, they could not do an auditorial, technical and legal review of the transaction.

Further, the Memorandum of Agreement did not include provisions for liquidated damages, being an essential part of a conventional government contract, to answer for delays, inconsistencies or changes in the design of the project as provided for in Paragraph 3.1 of Annex D of the Revised IRR of RA 9184,” said the COA.

Republic Act 9184 is the government procurement act. Under the said provision, there should be a guarantee that if there is delay and inconsistency, the contractor shall pay damages every day until the goods/services are delivered.

NHA and DPWH

Many of the missing documents were supposed to be submitted by either the NHA or the DPWH. The NHA was responsible for the conceptual design and planning of the building and site, while the DPWH was tasked to approve the engineering plans and specifications.

Out of the 16 required documents, only two or the schematic design plan and design development plan have been submitted to the COA.

Despite the lacking documents, PAO paid P1.8 million in March 2017 and P3 million in August 2017 for a total of P4.8 million.

The COA warned PAO to “refrain from processing and approving payments without complete supporting documents.”

It also told PAO to include in the contract “provisions for liquidated damages, to answer for delays, inconsistent or changes in the design.”

PAO had committed to “adhere to audit recommendations,” said the report.

The COA also noted that the target completion date was supposed to be December 2017.

“As of this writing, the percentage of completion is 40 percent of the total contract price,” COA said. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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