Philippine Daily Inquirer

3 EX­ECS OF DOTR AGENCY SUS­PENDED OVER COA RED FLAGS

- By Krixia Sub­ing­sub­ing @krix­i­asINQ Transportation · Audit · Industries · Financial Accounting · Corporate Finance · Finance · Business · United States Department of Transportation · Albania · Commission on Audit

Three high-rank­ing of­fi­cials of the Of­fice of Trans­porta­tion Co­op­er­a­tives ( OTC) were or­dered sus­pended by Trans­port Sec­re­tary Arthur Tu­gade af­ter a state au­dit re­port re­vealed var­i­ous ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in their trans­ac­tions.

In a sus­pen­sion or­der is­sued on June 29, OTC Chair Em­manuel Vir­tu­cio, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Eu­gene Pabualan and Fi­nance Chief Wil­fredo Clave Jr. were all slapped with a 90-day pre­ven­tive sus­pen­sion as they face in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Cre­ated in 1983, the OTC is an at­tached agency of the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion man­dated to im­ple­ment reg­u­la­tions re­lat­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion and su­per­vi­sion of trans­port co­op­er­a­tives.

2017 au­dit

A 2017 Com­mis­sion on Au­dit re­port on the OTC showed that Vir­tu­cio in­curred sev­eral ques­tion­able ex­penses, in­clud­ing unau­tho­rized travel ex­penses to­tal­ing P200,000; penalty charges from air­line trip can­cel­la­tions; and trans­porta­tion al- lowances that were claimed de­spite the pro­vi­sion of a ser­vice ve­hi­cle; among oth­ers.

Vir­tu­cio also al­legedly im­posed fees for train­ing cer­tifi­cates with­out au­tho­riza­tion and failed to ob­serve the guide­lines in the re­im­burse­ment of travel ex­penses.

The COA re­port also ques­tioned Vir­tu­cio’s var­i­ous pro­cure­ments, in­clud­ing that of a pickup ve­hi­cle through ne­go­ti­ated procuremen­t in­stead of com­pet­i­tive bid­ding, and us­ing P85,000 worth of cash ad­vances to get com­mon sup­plies.

Pabualan and Clave, mean- while, were re­vealed to have de­posited P2 mil­lion and P1.3 mil­lion, re­spec­tively—funds ear­marked for the jeep­ney mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram—into their per­sonal ac­counts.

The amounts were re­leased to two of­fi­cials by the OTC as cash ad­vances, but Pabualan liq­ui­dated only P33,000 while Clave liq­ui­dated only a lit­tle over P537,000, the COA re­port said.

Tu­gade tem­po­rar­ily stopped DOTr from down­load­ing funds to the OTC un­til the amounts re­leased to Pabualan and Clave have been fully liq­ui­dated.

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