Ex-Bacolod congressman mishandled P36M in 2005 SEA Games funds – COA

MANILA, Philippines - Former Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella and a former sports official are under scrutiny by the Commission on Audit (COA) for irregularities in spending government funds for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, which was held in the Philippines.

COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Isabel Agito and Jose Fabia affirmed a notice of disallowance issued by the supervising auditor of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), who reported that bidding procedures were not completely followed for contracts awarded by the Bacolod Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (BASOC) in 2005. 

The disallowed expenses amount to P36,778,105.44. The COA auditor issued a notice of disallowance on January 30, 2014, citing insufficient documents to prove that proper processes were observed, including the lack of public bidding or approved budgets, or proof that the projects were duly delivered. 

Aside from Puentevella, COA also cited was BASOC Secretary General Eric T. Loretizo. The two headed the BASOC. Punetevella received the P50.5 million funding from the PSC and signed contracts. Loretizo approved the payment to contractors for infrastructure projects. 

Punetevella appealed the ruling on the basis that there was not enough time to follow all the procedures, and that the size of the major sporting event justified doing away with the requirements of direct contracting. 

The Commission proper disagreed with the justification. 

“(P)etitioner’s failure to submit the required documents bars the application of the principle of quantum meruit. Since the reasonable value could not be determined for lack of documentary requirements, the principle of quantum meruit cannot apply,” the Commission said.

The Commission added that proper documents must be submitted even if public bidding is waived. 

“Considering that petitioner was signatory to the various infrastructure contracts, he should be made liable for the disallowance. Further, since no timely appeal has been filed by Mr. Lorezito, who is among the persons held liable…, the disallowance has already become final as to him,” the COA said. - Rappler.com