Calida told to explain P14.5M in travel, hotel, office supply, honororia without biddings or documentation

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The Commission on Audit has asked the office of Solicitor General Jose Calida to explain why he did not conduct biddings or provide documents in the procurement of airline tickets, hotel bookings, and office supplies and the grant of honoraria.

In its 2018 annual audit report, COA said Calida’s office bought P7.128 million in airplane tickets for foreign travel without getting the minimum three quotations from travel agencies.

“In addition, some itinerants were allowed to reimburse their airplane ticket without the price quotation and abstract of quotations attached to the claim. It was also noted that there was no recommendations or resolution from the BAC (bidding and awards committee) on the Alternative Mode of Procurement of plane tickets and no approval by the head of agency to adopt such mode of procurement,” COA said.

The travel agencies tapped by Calida were Aviatica Travel and Management Corp. City Travel and Tours Corp., and Sharp Travel Philippines Inc. Officials who sought for reimbursements were Ma. Lourdes Carmela Caganpang (San Remo, Italy), Louie Brian Sze (Washington and Singapore), Marissa Galandines (Washington), Armand V. Morales (Singapore), Rodrigo Ojenal (Singapore), Anthony Lemuel T. Lim (Washington), and Henry S. Angeles (Florence, Italy).

COA cited Calida’s office for failing to post through the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) its purchase of P5.51 million office supplies and equipment.

COA questioned why Calida spent P1.27 million in training in hotels and restaurants not usually used for government-sponsored international convention. These hotels are El Cielito Tourist Inn Inc., Cocina Dela Abuelas Corp., and World Hotel Makati Inc.

“The seminars/trainings could have been done in the office premises, government facilities or in hotels and restaurants used for government sponsored international conventions, meetings and the like that would charge lower costs. There were also no attendance sheet and some has no list of participants,” said COA.

COA flagged as illegal the grant of P443,000 million in honoraria, training fees, and terminal leave benefits paid without documentation.

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