The Commission on Audit (COA) allowed the office of former vice president Leni Robredo on its appeal about the state auditor’s disallowance of the hiring of a private lawyer.
Former OVP spokesperson Barry Gutierrez made the clarification after the COA released last year’s audit findings on the OVP’s budget utilization which includes the hiring of a lawyer as consultant without authorization from the Office of the Solicitor General.
“The matter was appealed by the OVP to the COA on 27 May 2022 and the appeal was granted on 29 June 2022, effectively lifting the Notice of Disallowance considering the absence of bad faith, malice or gross negligence in the transaction. It is now currently undergoing automatic review by the commission,” Gutierrez said.
“In its appeal, OVP maintained that the consultant was engaged and worked primarily as a key adviser on policy matters, and not as a lawyer; hence, should not be covered by the COA circular,” he added.
Gutierrez noted that Robredo made a written request to the Office of the President in 2016 to create positions for a core group of policy advisers, including the controversial consultant.
However, Malacañang never responded to the request.
Earlier, COA issued a Notice of Disallowance pushing the OVP to return the disbursed amounts for the legal consultant and three other private lawyers.
— Ronald Espartinez