COA lifts disallowance vs Biliran officials

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    THE Commission on Audit has affirmed the lifting of the notice of disallowance issued in 2011 against a road project in Biliran Island province that held former Gov. Gerardo Espina Jr. and four other local officials liable together with the private contractor.

    In a decision issued last December 2, COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc sustained the February 18, 2016 ruling of COA Regional Office 8 that granted the appeal of Espina.

    Aside from Espina, also originally held liable in the notice of disallowance were provincial accountant Charina Garces, provincial engineer Ventura Barbanida, Engineer III Pablo Nueve, Construction and Maintenance foreman Mike Paril, and contractor EB Cordero Construction.

    The audit team reported a discrepancy in the billing of P2.199 million for the construction of the Housing Road Network (Phase I) Project in Barangay Larrazabal, Naval, Biliran which was undertaken by EB Cordero in 2010.

    Auditors disallowed a portion of the project totaling P431,241.63 representing the cost of discrepancy due to error in the computation of the unimplemented portion of the roadwork.

    The amount was supposed to go to the aggregate base course without which the actual project cost would only be worth P1.763 million.

    In his appeal, Espina said the subject of the disallowance had already been corrected through Variation Order No. 1 which was implemented and completed by the contractor as of December 20, 2010. It was also issued a certification of compliance by the Provincial Inspectorate Team.

    In its inspection, the supervising auditor confirmed the points raised by Espina and recommended the lifting of the notice of disallowance.

    “After a careful evaluation of the facts and circumstances of the case, this Commission rules in the affirmative. Having rectified the cost discrepancy attributed to the unimplemented volume of Item No. 201 (aggregate base course), the disallowance is now settled,” the COA said.