COA: Senate must explain P230-M consultancy expenses

By , on May 11, 2015

Senate of the Philippines (Wikipedia photo)
Senate of the Philippines (Wikipedia photo)

MANILA – The Senate spent more than P231.886 million in consultancy services last year. To this, the Commission on Audit (COA) demanded an explanation on how the expenditure reached that high and how one senator needed the service of as many as 60 consultants.

A single consultant was also approved to be paid possibly as high as P94,000 monthly.

COA supervising auditor Mario Lipana stressed that the monthly budget of the Senate for personal services and other operating expenses were only P506,262 and P493,499 for committee chairmans and non-committee chairmans, respectively.

However, the Senate’s actual spending last year exceeded the allocated budget limit, partly because of the hiring of 60 or more consultants per senator.

In 2013, the Senate only spent P147.572 million for consultation services. In 2014, the Senate generousously spent P231.968 million for the services.

This prompted the COA to check and evaluate the Senate’s expenses on consultancy services.

However because of confidentiality, the COA could not gain access to documents showing the breakdown of the Senate’s expenses and the kind of services used.

Lipana then asked Senate president Franklin Drilon to explain and justify their excessive use and expenditure on consultancy services. The COA will then analyze the rationality of the expenses.

“The accomplishment of consultants could not be ascertained because they claimed that the services rendered is considered confidential in nature and no accomplishment report or information regarding thereto is attached to every claim of consultancy service. Hence, the importance or indispensability of hiring consultants could not be determined,” Lipana said.

“We also noticed that there were no resume or other documentary information of consultants attached to consultancy services claims that may show their qualifications for being hired as a consultant,” he added.