THE Commission on Audit has affirmed a 2013 decision holding officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Pampanga Sub-District Engineering Office (PSDEO) liable for disallowed payments to contractors totaling P27.26 million.
COA Chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc upheld the validity of nine notices of disallowance issued on October 21, 2011 after a technical audit team found evidence that the extent of completion did not tally with the reported accomplishments.
The January 6, 2020 ruling denied the petition for review filed by Juanito Reguyal, Orvill Gamboa, Apolinario Mateo, Celestino Polintan, Mary Jean Aquino, Carmelita Romero, and Tiburcio Canlas all of the DPWH-PSDEO in Angeles City.
Among the major projects questioned on audit were the P19.06 million Rehabilitation and Improvement of Slope Protection for Upper Abacan River which called for the excavation of 370,800 cubic meters from the river channel. Auditors found only 47,104 cubic meters of materials were removed resulting in a disallowance of P11.226 million.
Similar findings were reported in the P7.148 million Rechanneling of Upper Abacan River and the P7.147 million Rechanneling of the Lower Abacan River where assessment revealed accomplishment rates of only 24.18 percent. The audit team disallowed P5.42 million for each project.
In the P9.954 million rehabilitation of the Angeles-Porac Road, only 4,644 square meters of asphalt pavement was turned over, which was 29 percent of 1,900 square meters short of the required 6,545 square meters. Auditors disallowed P2.922 million.
The COA Commission Proper said the public works officials’ appeal was filed beyond the 180 days allowed under the rules.
“The party who seeks to exercise the right to appeal must comply with the requirements of the rules, failing in which the right to appeal is lost. The late filing without justifiable reason is a disregard of this Commission’s procedural rules, and has rendered the decision final and executory,” the COA said.
Even so, it pointed out that if the petition for review were to be given due course, the ruling would still result in a denial noting that the petitioner’s assertion that there were necessary changes in the projects were lacking in documentary support.
“Although the petitioners claim that the variations were actually accomplished and all projects were satisfactorily completed, this Commission is not convinced. The deficiencies were found by the SAT (special audit team), which were not satisfactorily controverted by sufficient evidence by petitioners,” the COA added.