The Commission flagged the Office of the Vice President (OVP) on Audit (COA) for illegally hiring a private lawyer as a legal consultant.
The report on the 2021 budget said the decision during the final year of Vice President Leni Robredo went against COA regulations since the OVP didn’t have clearance from the COA and the Solicitor General.
The auditors said the OVP didn’t have a valid reason to employ a legal consultant since it established a legal affairs division that contributed to strengthening the office.
“In view of the lack of written conformity and acquiescence of the solicitor general and the written concurrence of COA, and despite having legal officers, payments made to the legal consultant are considered irregular and unnecessary expenditures,” COA said.
The OVP argued that the consultant didn’t work as a legal officer but as a policy adviser. The Office of the President failed to act upon the request so the OVP had to go through a consultancy arrangement.
The COA didn’t buy the clarification, explaining that the consultant’s salaries from January 2020 to July 2021 will be disallowed, and anyone who approved the payments must be held liable. The COA issued a notice of disallowance in April 2022.
Robredo’s OVP previously received the highest audit rating of any government agency from 2018 to 2021.
The OVP only had auditing problems when former Solicitor General Jose Calida was named the new COA chairman under the Marcos administration. Because of this, netizens and kakampinks think that the latest audit opinion is a hit job on Robredo, the incumbent president’s main rival during the campaign period.
COA had consistently lauded the OVP under the term of VP Leni Robredo but the moment Calida takes the reins it starts flagging????
Genuinely scared for VPL’s safety, hope she doesn’t end up with cases and convictions like Sen. De Lima pic.twitter.com/ZKjKzD1oO3
— Javi Vilchez #AngatBuhayLahat (@Javiercrombie) July 18, 2022
Read the article.
VP Leni asked Duterte to give them policy consultants.
Duterte ignored the request.
So VP Leni hired a private policy consultant.
Now, Calida, former lawyer of Duterte, now COA Chair, accuses VP Leni of illegally hiring a private policy consultant.
— Josh (@josiahdfquising) July 18, 2022
Calida is doing the dirty work with maligning the OVP with Atty. Leni Robredo at the time whose office received COA’s unqualified opinion for three successive years. Remember he was flagged by COA for receiving millions of allowance when he was the SolGen. 🥱
— Yoi— (@noodlessnoodle) July 18, 2022
By appointing Calida as the Chair of COA, the admin just weaponized it against Atty. Leni Robredo. My challenge is not for this admin but for the COA Auditors to not tainted their names and reputation by being used for political advancement.
— Kalbo Watsinanggo (@KaTribu1) July 19, 2022
Calida starting his (demolition) job in COA.https://t.co/PsX0gI44Dn
— Mau (@MissHappyWriter) July 19, 2022
TRY TO TOUCH OUR LENI ROBREDO AND OUR ANGAT BUHAY FOUNDATION, INACA! BAKA MAKAKITA KA ULIT NG NAGMAMARTSA SA KALSADA, CALIDA!
INAMOCA! PARANG KAYO ATA DI NAKAKAMOVE ON.
— JustMo_dump (@TeacherMo_dump) July 18, 2022
Biruin mo naupo lang si Calida na-flagged agad si President Leni Robredo… 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔
— Katy Du💩 (@maui_kingston) July 18, 2022
The COA also flagged Robredo’s OVP for misusing P25 million in COVID-19 research funds.
“Per review of transactions, it was disclosed that the SRED budget was realigned and utilized for OVP’s regular social services, COVID-19 projects, and other purposes,” COA said in its latest report.
The OVP said it couldn’t make a deal with service providers that fulfill the requirements for survey and research activities.
“While the budget may not have been utilized for its original intended purpose, its actual utilization has achieved a substantial and far more reaching benefit during the pandemic,” OVP management said.
The COA noted that the OVP spent P9.9 million on 22,000 antigen test kits, which could’ve been cheaper due to the market’s increased supply.
In response, the OVP said the kits were used for its Swab Cab project rollout.