THE Commission on Audit has declared former representative Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City and a former sports official liable for disallowed spending of P36,778,105.44 during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
In a seven-page decision, CoA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito upheld the notice of disallowance issued by the supervising auditor of the Philippine Sports Commission that ruled irregularities in the use of government funds transferred to the Bacolod Southeast Asian Games organizing committee.
Along with Puentevella as the sitting BASoc, then PSC secretary general Eric Loretizo was held liable.
Puentevella received the P50.5-million fund from the PSC and signed contracts with suppliers and contractors, while Loretizo approved the payment to contractors of the infrastructure projects.
The PSC auditor issued on Jan. 30, 2014 a notice of disallowance covering transactions of P36.78 million, taking into account the insufficiency of documents to show proof that proper procedures were observed, and that the projects were duly delivered.
It also cited the absence of a public bidding.
The former lawmaker filed a petition, challenging the CoA decision on the ground that the shortage of time and the magnitude of the sports event justified dispensing with the requirements of direct contracting.
A reasonable cost of accomplishment may be computed based on the “principle of quantum meruit” or the computation of entitlement to compensation based on the amount of work done, he argued.
The CoA’s Commission Proper rejected Puentevella’s appeal.
“(P)etitioner’s failure to submit the required documents bars the application of the principle of quantum meruit. Since the reasonable value could not be determined for lack of documentary requirements, the principle of quantum meruit cannot apply,” the ruling read.
“Considering that petitioner was signatory to the various infrastructure contracts, he should be made liable for the disallowance. Further, since no timely appeal has been filed by Mr. Lorezito, who is among the persons held liable…, the disallowance has already become final as to him.”