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Liquidation by Certification

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Vice President Sara Duterte’s proposed confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education of which she is Secretary have made so many people angry.

Then the House of Representatives took these proposed confidential funds away — perhaps in the process, also showing cracks in the not-so #Uniteam.

Now, leading the offensive war is her former President Daddy Digong, exposing how both Houses of Congress are actually swimming in funds that are almost untouchable by liquidation rules.

Harry Roque has challenged the Lower House, and alleged that they are hypocrites for going after VP Sara’s confidential funds when they themselves do not also liquidate their own funds in the way that ordinary government officials do. “Liquidation by certification”, Roque said. Yun lang ang kailangan.

But is it true? Are congresspersons and senators really allowed to do “liquidation by certification” for their budget, as if these are confidential or intelligence funds?

Partly true. Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 10, 25 July 2011 says, in part: “Whereas, in recognition of the delicate and unique nature of the functions, operational and organizational structures of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Commission on Appointments, and the Senate and House Electoral Tribunals, the Commission on Audit has consistently allowed the current system of liquidation by way of certification, duly signed by each Senator and Member of the House of Representatives, that such amounts allocated to each Member of Congress as part of their Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) were utilized or expended in the performance of their legislative functions.» (emphasis ours)

We don’t have the figures for 2021-2022. The latest itemized list from COA is from 2020, and these are the figures excluding their salaries: Paolo Duterte (Davao 1st District): approximately p20.6 million; Martin Romualdez (Leyte 1st District): approximately P28.5 million.

This Senate Concurrent Resolution is bad public policy because ‘liquidation by certification” is simply liquidation on honesty basis. So if your Congressperson or Senator is not honest, well…you know what will happen.

Based on the itemized lists that COA submits, it seems that each Congressperson or Senator is still required to track expenses for foreign travel, contractual consultants, consultative local travel, communication, representation, public affairs fund, central office staff, equipment, furniture, fixtures, and other MOOE for office needs. These need to be itemized, and hence, you would need to collect receipts.

When I was working at the Senate, we submitted liquidation forms for our office expenses.

With this concurrent Resolution, we must then clarify if “liquidation by certification” means they don’t have to submit official receipts to COA. Because if the answer is yes, then that’s a lot of people’s money that’s vulnerable to abuse. Imagine having P28.5 million for the next nine years. That’s P256.5 million. Per congressperson.

With this ongoing war between the Speaker of the House/House of Marcos/Romualdez versus the House of Duterte, would Cong. Paolo Duterte — to help win the public war — be willing to voluntarily submit his MOOE to old school, traditional, pahirapan-style of liquidation?

Will the House of Duterte and their loyal subjects at the House and the Senate pass a Resolution to stop “liquidation by certification” for the Maintenance & Other Operating Expenses of Senators and Congresspersons?

They need to do that. Yung totoong war based on principles and not on politics. 

Abangan.

______________________________________

Author’s email: goldabenjamin@gmail.com

 

 

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