COA: PhilForest ex-president liable for P19M disallowed PDAF releases

    THE Commission on Audit has affirmed a 2018 decision of the COA Corporate Government Sector holding former Philippine Forest Corp. (Philforest) president Harlin Abayon liable for the disallowed release of P19 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of three congressmen in 2009 and 2010.

    In a decision released September 20, the COA Commission Proper denied Abayon’s petition for exclusion for being filed out of time and for lack of merit.

    COA Chairperson Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc gave no credence to Abayon’s argument that he merely relied on the groundwork of his subordinates when he approved the release of P4.75 million from the PDAF allocations of Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Carlos Lacson, P4.75 million from Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, and P9.5 million from Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas.

    Based on audit records, the P4.75 million from Lacson and the P9.5 million from Gullas were released to the Philippine Environmental and Ecological Development Association Inc. (PEEDA) supposedly for the implementation of the Upland Agro-Forestry Development Program.

    On the other hand, the P4.75 million PDAF from Ong was transferred to the Kapuso’t Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (KKFI) for the “rehabilitation of forest, mangroves, and watersheds in the 2nd District of Northern Samar.

    The transactions were disallowed in audit following Philforest’s failure to submit the required documentations including the project proposal, the special allotment release order (SARO), work and financial plans, memorandum of agreement, and liquidation reports from PEEDA.

    The KKFI submitted no MOA, official receipts, or distribution lists and attendance sheets.
    A notice of disallowance includes a requirement for those held liable to refund the dsiallowed sum in full.

    Also held liable were former Philforest vice presidents Glicerio Mondigo, Erwin Krishna Santos, and Marijoyce Comel; KKFI project coordinator Queenie Estanislao; KKFI representatives Jaime Rodriguez and Miraflor Gapuz; and PEEDA.