PCOO investigates own people on questionable ASEAN expenses

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DAVAO CITY (July 22)  –- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said it will  investigate its own people on the reported irregularities in the disbursement of funds during the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) events in 2017.

This, after the Commission on Audit (COA)  found out various irregularities, ranging from questionable bidding procedures   up to hasty procurement of supplies which did not conform with the government procedures.

PCOO Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Marvin Gatpayat in a report published by the Philippine News Agency,  said at least five individuals including two PCOO deputy officials are now being investigated for possible violation of procurement laws.

Gatpayat, who is the chief of staff of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar,  said  there are more or less five undergoing investigation.

But Gatpayat refused to divulge  the names of their own people involve in the mess, saying they do not want trial by publicity,  but he vowed to reveal the names “at the proper time.”

He claimed two PCOO officials have been designated to handle the ASEAN Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications (CMASC) which was assigned to PCOO.

The COA report stated, PCOO had awarded contracts to suppliers with over-the-budget quotations and split purchases for giveaways and vans which is a violation of the procurement law.

But the PCOO claimed  they conducted their own investigation which started  April or a month after the PCOO received the Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) “on the aforementioned procurement irregularities”.

“As ordered by the Secretary, the PCOO Legal Department is conducting an investigation on the matter. Show cause memorandums have been issued and an investigation report is forthcoming,” Gatpayat read from the statement.

As early as January this year, Gatpayat said the PCOO received reports that there might have been “some indiscretions” in the conduct of procurement in the ASEAN event.

Gatpayat said they already reconstituted the members of the  PCOO-Bids and Awards Committee and PCOO-BAC II, “effectively replacing their respective chairpersons”.

“To strengthen our procurement process, and to comply with the observations of the COA, we also created an interim procurement service unit (PSU),” Gatpayat said.

He said the PSU is already performing support functions in relation to the preparation of supporting documents and to ensure strict compliance with the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The COA questioned the acquisition of supplies, costly van rentals and other expenses which according to the post audit report was beyond the allowable price allowed in the government procurement procedure.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

 

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