MORE than half of 353 paintings owned by the Commission on Audit have gone missing, according to an inventory report included in the 2019 audit of the agency.
The report, released last January 29, said the loss was discovered after the COA Central Office ordered a physical inventory of “Plant, Property, and Equipment (PP&E)” in compliance with the requirements of Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines to ascertain the existence and valuation of all assets.
To establish how many paintings went missing, auditors compared the records of the Accounting Division showing 353 items against a separate listing from the Property Division which only contained 172.
The audit team described the missing paintings as “valuable” so that, if not recovered, they will represent a “significant loss of government assets.”
While there has been no assessment of the individual value of each artwork, the audit team said the paintings “convey symbolic significance/importance acquired over a length of time that commands a substantial financial value.”
“The 181 painting that are not included in the RPCPPE (Report on the Physical Count of Property, Plant, and Equipment) are deemed to be not physically verified during the conduct of the physical inventory for 2019, hence, considered missing,” the team pointed out.
Many of the paintings were brought to the office by former COA chairpersons, commissioners, assistant commissioners and other officials.
The audit team recommended that the COA create a team to make a complete inventory of the artworks and try to locate the missing 181 pieces.
It also called for an investigation and filing of charges “against persons found negligent or at fault in the handling or safekeeping of the missing paintings.”
Finally, it said there should be a valuation of the COA’s artwork collection to determine their current market value to be reflected in the books.
The COA management responded by saying the Accounting Office has been tasked to reconcile its records with the RPCPPE-Works of Art and Archeological Specimens.
It also agreed with the recommendation to create a team to handle the inventory of all paintings listed in COA’s records.