Tuesday, September 25, 2018

TOO MUCH SPENDING | COA finds irregularities in SC purchase of computers in 2017



Former President Noynoy Aquino and Ousted Supreme Court Chief of Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Image credit to South China Morning Post
Commission on Audit (COA) reports from auditors that the Supreme Court headed by ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2017 have spent P7.9-million worth of computer purchases violated several provisions of the procurement law. 


Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Image credit to ABS-CBN News
Aside from SC's spending during Sereno's time for Boracay Shangri-La during the 2015 ASEAN Chief Justices and the ASEAN Law Association (ALA) General Assembly and purchase of her land cruiser in 2017, auditors is also looking into the purchases of computers, laptops and printers that was said to be used for implementation of the e-Subpoena and other e-Court features, the flagship projects of the the Judiciary Reform Program (JRF).

“Management resorted to ‘Shopping’ or ‘Small Value Procurement’ as an alternative mode of purchasing computer sets and printers worth P7,987,495.00, instead of public bidding contrary to Section 10, Rule V of the IRR of Republic Act 9184 (Procurement Law),” state auditors said in their 2017 report on the Supreme Court released on September 24.

According to the SC there is an urgent need to buy the computers so they did not went through bidding from suppliers and instead went to shopping malls to buy the equipments. 


Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and controversial Land Cruiser. Image credit to Remate
The COA disagrees because the SC made the purchases on the same date from two suppliers splitting the amount to meet the purchases limits. 

“Procurements should have been done through public bidding by bulk purchases to widen competition, instead of limiting to three suppliers only. Since Shopping or Small Value Procurements were used, management should have invited suppliers from the regions to save on costs of freight of P193,600.00 which were add-ons to the prices of the suppliers for deliveries made in the regional Lower Courts,” said auditors.


And auditors said, if there is an urgency of need for the equipments why did the SC agree for 30-days delivery when RA 9184 allows even as short as 26 days.

Under RA 9184, shopping or small value procurement are allowed, provided that for national government agencies like the judiciary, the amount involved does not exceed P1 million.


Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is flanked by supporters as she emerges from the court compound in Manila on May 11, 2018. Image and caption credit to ABS-CBN News
“Overall, the agency paid an excess of P1,316,305.00, as shown in Table 19, for the purchase of some of the above IT equipment contrary to Section 48.1, Rule XVI of the RA 9184 IRR,” said COA.

COA found out that only property officers was the one who signed the purchase orders, with no written authority contrary to the judiciary’s human resource manual.

In short, in its 2017 report COA has found out anomalies in SC spending during Sereno's leadership.

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Source: Rappler