COA orders Metro mayors to return P331-M pork

By , on November 28, 2014

Wikipedia Photo
Wikipedia Photo

MANILA – Nine city mayors in Metro Manila was ordered by the Commission on Audit to return more than P331.7 million in unused pork barrel funds to the National Treasury.

The said funds were released to them by several lawmakers, according to an annual financial report for 2013 released by the audit commission.

COA also added in the same report that about P1.106 billion from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is still with the local governments.

This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court has already declared the unconstitutionality of the pork barrel fund, more than a year ago.

“Strictly adhere to the pertinent provisions of the Supreme Court decision,” the COA told the mayors in its 918-page report obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The said report was submitted to President Benigno Aquino III, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. by COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza on Sept. 25.

“A meaningful audit would assure the public and taxpayers that the funds and other resources used for various programs, projects and activities were expended and reported in accordance with laws, rules and regulations, and that operational performance were achieved in an economic, efficient and effective manner,” the report said.

Among the 16 cities and one town in the National Capital Region, Quezon City has the biggest unspent PDAF with more than P142.8 million.

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay was also directed by the COA to remit nearly P54.8 million of the city government’s unused PDAF to the state treasury.

Las Piñas City was also among the list with more than P1 million in pork barrel for projects that were excluded in the list of programs that could be funded through the pork.

Other cities with unspent pork barrel funds include Manila (P31.868 million), Malabon (P4.183), Navotas (P18.499), Pasig (P18.681 million) and Valenzuela (P1.491 million).

“We have recommended that the remaining PDAF be reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund through the account of the Bureau of Treasury,” the COA said.

“We also recommended that should the city receive funds from the national government or from other sources with defined specific purpose, these should be utilized strictly in accordance with that purpose,” the COA added.