Up to as much as P3.5 billion representing a substantial 85 percent of the P4.1 billion accounts receivable-trade balance of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in 2015 “were skeptical,” inning accordance with the Commission on Audit (COA), reporting on its audit of the company for 2015.

The COA observed the “existence and correctness” of the stated figure were not established by the previous administration.

The Commission said it had sent out verification letters to 57 homeowners of the SBMA housing systems which 37 with receivables of P88.2 million were returned with remarks, “nobody to receive,” “abandoned,” “unlocated,” “various system owner,” and “closed/under SBMA control”, while 20 other mails with receivables of P113.7 million had no replies.

The audit group likewise sent verification letters to 30 locators with overall receivables of P3.29 billion of which 11 with receivables of P627.58 million were returned with comments: “business closed/under control of SBMA” and “nobody to get” while 19 locators with receivables of P2.66 billion did not respond.

The audit team kept in mind that the letters were “returned because of skeptical addresses which were lifted from the SBMA’s IFMS under the module, Accounts Receivable Reports-Accounting Report-Statement of Account (Locators) (Locals), and from the aging schedule sent by the accounting department.”

The COA, in its report, noted additionally that “the reported receivables of P489.3 million or 11.92 percent of the total trade receivables which had been in the books because 2013 with ages three to 4 years or more stayed non-moving.

In the wake of the COA findings, SBMA Chairman Martin B. Di o, immediately developed an eight-man audit group that would “search out the reality” on the SBMA operation and management under its previous chairman Roberto Garcia and seven members of the Board of Directors. They were Benjamin E. Antonio, Wilfredo S. Pineda, Bienvenido O. Benitez, Joven D. Reyes, Francis S. Garcia, Raul F. Marcelo, Cynthia C. Paulino.

“We will seek the fact and go after those who were responsiblewas accountable for any wrongdoing. We will absolutely submit charges versus them,” Di o stated as he called team members to carry out a “legal and financial audit” of deals got in into by the previous Chairman and Board.

The audit group, Di o stated, is empowered to “direct the production of files” such as books of accounts, agreements and monetary statements, and to “perform interviews and take depositions of appropriate personnel.”

Called by Di o to make up the transition and audit group are Atty. Emer Aceron, Atty. Jose Arollado Jr., Rolando Allan Asi, B/Gen. Percival Barba, Rod Banag, B/Gen Arnulfo J. Marcos (ret.), Jose Rey Recinto and Atty. Victor Pablo C. Trinidad. Di o stated the team might be offered other tasks and duties in relation to the audit.

Another strong finding of irregularity by COA worried lapses in the grant and liquidation of money advances involving P14.1 million to SBMA officials in the previous administration who were not even duly designated as disbursing officers.

The moneycash loan and inadequate documentation of liquidations amounting to P5.5 million “exposed government funds to risks of misappropriation or loss and called into question their consistency,” said the COA audit report.

The post-audit of disbursement coupons (DVs) for money advances with their liquidation reports exposed that the cashcash loan were given to 7 SBMA officers, six of whom were not appropriately designated as disbursing officers.

The 6, the audit team discovereddiscovered, were granted bulk of the advances. The then Senior Deputy Administrator for assistance services Ramon Agregado had cash advances of P12.687 million, while the deputy administrator for legal Randy Escolango’s moneycash loan totaled P299,700.

The others recognized in the audit report include Mary Jamelle Camba, tourism department manager (P425,700), Fernando De Vacation home Jr., deputy administrator for administration (P451,940), Von Rodriguez, legal department manager (P102,065.75), and Solomon Jacalne, supervisor for public health and security (P63,170).

“The granting of moneycash loan without the requisite authority breached COA Circular No. 97-002 outdated February 10, 1997, which restricts disbursing functions to just duly selected or designated disbursing officers,” COA said.

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