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Audit Philippine Senate Funds

Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Ma. Gracia M. Pulido Tan on Monday asked the Senate committee on accounts to prepare the Senate books, initially from 2010 to 2012, for extensive review.

”Basically, the (COA) chairperson accepted the challenge by some senators to open the books for extensive audit,” Lacson told the media after receiving the COA’s letter.

Lacson said he and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile agreed to tackle the COA’s letter in a caucus after the roll call of the 3 p.m. session on Monday.

”We have to comply (from COA’s letter) and so I requested for a caucus from Senate President to discuss the COA’s letter out of respect to individual senator,” Lacson said.

Lacson said he had already asked permission of Enrile to order the Senate accounting department to make all the documents ready, specifically the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), of the Senate from 2010 to 2012.

”I asked also the permission of Senate President to asked the (Senate) accounting to prepare and produce all the documents as far back. Initially, they are ready to release 2010, 2011 and 2012 records,” Lacson told the media.

Lacson said part of the audit is the review of additional P1.6 million MOOE given to every senator except to four – Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Pia Cayetao, Antonio Trillanes IV and minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano.

He explained the COA’s audit will initially cover 2010 to 2012 since it was the time when a concurrent resolution allowing the submission of a mere certificate to liquidate funds was in effect.

Lacson admitted he proposed the passage of the concurrent resolution in August of 2011 in his capacity as chairman of the Senate committee on accounts.

He, however, clarified it was the House of Representatives which prepared the concurrent resolution “because the House encountered problems with its resident auditor then.”

While the Senate accounting department has been ordered to prepare for audit, Lacson said it would still be up to the individual senator to comply with COA’s mandate to check funds used by the Senate.

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