San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes
MANILA – A lawmaker on Thursday stressed the need for the government to implement a pre-audit system in the disbursement of public funds to address graft and corruption.
San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes filed House Bill 7124, which seeks to establish a mandatory pre-audit system of all government disbursements to ensure that public funds are not lost to graft and corruption, plunder, or leakage.
Robes said the pre-audit system, in which transactions and contracts are reviewed before public funds are released, was implemented in the 1920s but former president Ferdinand Marcos shifted to a post-audit system in the 1970s.
“The present system of post-audit is prone to abuse and graft and corruption because it reviews disbursements after they have been released and therefore almost impossible to recover if irregularities are discovered,” Robes said.
She noted that the Philippines is losing around PHP700 billion, or around 20 percent of its total budget appropriation, yearly due to corruption.
Under the bill, all expenditures and uses of public funds pertaining to infrastructure projects, procurement of goods and consulting services, including the lease of goods and real property, of any branch, office agency or instrumentality of the government shall undergo mandatory pre-audit before any funds are released for such projects or contracts.
To ensure that there will be no delay in the disbursements, the Commission on Audit (COA) shall issue a Certificate of Pre-Audit within 15 days from receipt of all pertinent documents.
The bill states that if the COA does not issue a certificate, it is mandated to decline the issuance of the same, on valid and legal grounds within 15 days from receipt of all pertinent documents relative to the intended disbursement of public funds.
The bill seeks the creation of a Pre-Audit Office at the COA for the manpower required to guarantee that there will be no delay in carrying out the pre-audit system. Any delay will subject the state auditor to criminal or administrative sanctions.
“The country has suffered so much from graft and corruption of taxpayers’ money by unscrupulous individuals in and outside of government. It is now time to stop this despicable act,” Robes said. (PNA)