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COA allows senators to liquidate P500k in expenses via certification


Senators were given some leeway by the Commission on Audit in the liquidation of their offices’ expenses, as the COA allowed them to liquidate up to P500,000 via certification. Outgoing Senate accounts committee chairman Panfilo Lacson said Sunday that the COA wanted the new guideline to take effect in the second quarter of the year. But he, instead, asked that it take effect January. “Nakiusap na lang ako sabi ko baka pwede retroact to January 2013 para medyo lumuwag kaunti, para may flexibility ang senador,” he said in an interview on dzBB radio. The new COA rules stemmed from accusations by senators, including Miriam Santiago, of uneven distribution of maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds in the Senate. Previously, lawmakers could account for their expenses even without receipts, through certification. But the COA refused recognize such liquidations. Last January, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to change their practice of liquidating by mere certification. Lacson said that while he had no problem with liquidation since he already accounted for his office’s expenses, many senators were finding it difficult with the use of certifications. — DVM, GMA News