Disbursement of Makati City Jail inmates' food allowance 'questionable' – COA

DOUBT. Commission on Audit recommends that local government subsidies should be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

DOUBT. Commission on Audit recommends that local government subsidies should be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) found the disbursement procedure done by the Makati City government for its city jail inmates in 2015 “questionable.”

In a 2015 audit report, state auditors stated that the local government spent P4.4 million ($91,960) in meal subsidy for city jail inmates which was made through payment of reimbursement to the jail warden. 

However, COA said that this move casts “doubts on the propriety of utilization.”

“This disbursement procedure has exposed the funds to possible misuse or misappropriation considering that funds are already provided by Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for the meal expenses of the inmates,” the COA said. “Reimbursement by the jail warden of food expenses incurred, although supported with documents is tainted with doubt as to propriety of utilization.”

Under its 2015 national budget, BJMP already received P1.555 billion ($32.3 million) as subsistence allowance to 85,224 prisoners for a year. This means the meals of each inmate in one day should not exceed P50 ($1.04).

Makati City government, however, appropriated an additional P8,213,000 ($171,651) for “food supplies expense” for its city jail. The city resident auditor said that this adds another P30 ($.62) in a meal budget of each inmate.

COA added that it is questionable whether or not the inmates actually benefitted from the meal allowance as “there was no proper accounting” as there were no official receipts or certification of total number of inmates submitted.

The Makati City accounting department, responding to the audit report, recommended the transfer of the city subsidies directly to the BJMP to ensure that contracts for meal delivery and other transactions undergo normal procurement process.

According to COA, the transfer is “appropriate” so that transactions will follow existing laws.

“Inasmuch as funds are appropriated for food supplies expense in the regular budget of the city, we deem that it is appropriate to transfer the same directly to BJMP,” COA said. “This will allow proper recording of the fund transfer and disbursement in accordance with existing laws.” — Rappler.com

*$1=P47