By: Gerome Dalipe
THE Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered officials and employees of Iloilo City Hall to liquidate their cash advances amounting to P475,607.
The aging cash advances remained unliquidated since 2011 and prior years, state auditors indicated in their annual report on the City Hall for 2018.
“Existence of the long outstanding cash advances may result in the overstatement or understatement of concerned accounts, affecting the fair presentation of the account balances in the financial statements,” read the COA report.
Pursuant to COA Circular 2012-004 dated Nov. 28, 2012, all government agencies were ordered by state auditors to liquidate and settle their cash advances outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2011, on or before Jan. 31, 2013.
The circular serves as the demand required pursuant to law, rules, and regulations to settle the officer’s unliquidated cash advance as well as all those who are already separated from the service or have transferred to other agency.
Likewise, Art. 217 of the Revised Penal Code states that public officer or employee may be held liable if he fails to settle public funds or property, or he has put such missing funds or property to personal use.
Verification by state auditors showed that the City Hall employees and officials have unsettled cash advances totaling P3,875,607.
The city accountant told state auditors the liquidation reports of cash advances for confidential and information fund amounting to P3.4 million were forwarded to COA Central Office.
Thus, the balance of unliquidated advances of officers and employees granted in 2011 and prior years was only P475,607.
The city accountant wrote a letter to the audit team requesting to write-off the unliquidated cash advance of the late former Iloilo congressman Raul Gonzales, Sr.
The request, however, remains pending for verification and evaluation considering that a notice of disallowance was issued on such cash advance in the previous year’s audit report.
During the conference, the city accountant also said that they have coordinated with the City Legal Officer on appropriate legal action against personnel who have unsettled advances.
In the report, the auditors urged the city accountant to regularly issue demand letters to City Hall personnel with outstanding cash advances.
The City Hall is also urged to strictly adhere with the guidelines and procedures on the request for the write-off of unliquidated cash advances pursuant to COA Circular 2016-005 for a fair presentation of account balances in the financial statements.