COA findings vs. PLLO not yet ‘final’: Palace

MANILA The Commission on Audit (COA) report questioning the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) for spending millions on alleged overpaid consultants is not yet final, MalacaAang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark following reports that the 2017 COA annual audit report (AAR) called out the PLLO for hiring consultants whose tasks overlap with the duties and responsibilities of regular personnel or can basically be provided by the contract of service personnel.

Two points I think this report came out as a result of a request of the COA for PLLO to comment. In other words, hindi pa iyan (that's not yet the) conclusion, Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Magkakaroon pa ng exit conference na tinatawag. So hindi pa iyan final conclusion ng COA (There will still be what you call an exit conference. So that's not yet the final conclusion of the COA). So it's unfair to say that's a final conclusion of COA, he added.

The PLLO, in a separate statement, found reports of the alleged overpaid consultants misleading and appeared to be pregnant with malice since it failed to take into account PLLO's side of the story.

The PLLO explained that after COA made reference to its audit of its Consultancy Services account, it submitted its comments, which were already resolved during the exit conference held between COA and PLLO Management Officials.

It further stressed that in 2017, the PLLO, under Secretary Adelino Sitoy, was in transition and was constrained to hire additional manpower with qualifications commensurate to their respective tasks to supplement the human resource requirement of the PLLO on endeavors beyond the optimum in-house capacity of its existing staff.

The PLLO said that this emphasizes its compliance with all of COA's recommendations and made needed adjustments in its consultancy services.

Such adjustments include giving clear and defined terms of engagement and deliverables of its primarily confidential consultants and reviewing its rates of consultancy services to make it commensurate to the character and quality of the services to be rendered.

This compliance has been acknowledged by COA in its 2017 AAR and no disallowance was issued by COA on the matter, PLLO said.

The PLLO, meanwhile, assured that it has always committed to the policy of prudence and economy in the use of taxpayer's money.

It also expressed appreciation for COA's vigilance for good governance and the media's indispensable support.

However, it also slammed online news site Rappler for its reportage on the issue, noting that it never tried to reach the PLLO to comment on the matter.

We would think that in the interest of fair play and responsible journalism, Rappler would have had the decency of seeking our side on the matter before publishing the same, the PLLO said.

However, Rappler is only one of the media outlets that ran a story on the PLLO's alleged overpaid consultants. The story also ran in other online news sites and broadsheets.

Source: Philippine News Agency