MANILA, Philippines – Who should be punished for wasting public funds?
At least three senators want to find out who are responsible for the overstocking at the Upper Chamber of P3 million worth of excess and dormant supplies that the institution acquired last year.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said the Senate Committee on Accounts, which he chairs, would conduct an inquiry “not only in aid of legislation but to make accountable and criminally liable,” those behind the wasteful acquisition of supplies.
“I will definitely conduct an investigation on the alleged anomalies using the COA report as basis of the same. We cannot tolerate or ignore such shenanigans right under the noses of the senators. If proven correct, not only must heads roll, whoever is/are responsible should be held criminally liable,” he said.
According to a report by the Commission on Audit (COA), the Senate was overstocked last year with supplies such as close to 10,000 rolls of toilet paper, more than 14,000 whiteboard markers, almost 26,000 office envelopes, and almost 18,000 folders.
COA said “wastage of government assets from overstocking and obsolescence of inventories could have been prevented had procurement of supplies and materials have been properly planned and periodic assessment of inventory movements been undertaken to ascertain the required quantity of items for stocking.”
Of the P3 million worth of supplies, more than half or P1.6 million consisted of materials that laid dormant in the Senate for one to four years because of inadequate procurement planning.
These include printer supplies such as P900,000 worth of toner cartridges and P168,000 worth or ribbon cartridges; more than P127,000 worth of maintenance kits; P91,000 worth of ink refills; and about P70,000 in ink cartridges.
Many of these supplies had already become useless after the Senate shifted from manual to automated paperless systems.
Lacson said that after the inquiry, his panel would make “proper recommendation” to the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice “to file the appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.”
Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito also called for an investigation into the COA report.
“Things like this have no place in the Senate. Siguro ito ang pagkakaiba natin [Perhaps this is what makes us different from others], we are very much sensitive to the calls of the people. Pag hindi p’wede, hindi p’wede [When it’s prohibited, it means that it really is]” he said.
Earlier, Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III also said he would look into the matter.
“We should not waste money and resources,” he said.