Aguirre denies hand in unauthorized transfer of DOJ funds

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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) - Former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II denied involvement in the alleged irregularities at the Department of Justice (DOJ) discovered by the Commission on Audit (COA).

"I have no participation whatsoever in the transactions subject matter of the Annual Audit Report released by the Commission on Audit (COA)," Aguirre said in a statement on Saturday. "No signature was ever required of the undersigned in connection with the said transactions."

Aguirre is reacting to the COA's 2017 audit report claiming that there have been three unauthorized bank accounts to "park" government funds and released salaries without supporting documents during his time as justice secretary.

COA flagged DOJ for transferring unliquidated funds worth P65.68 million to three accounts in the Land Bank of the Philippines. Under the law, the unused public money should have been deposited in the Bureau of the Treasury regardless of income source.

Aguirre said he has no hand in the financial transactions in the DOJ which are "handled primarily by the Financial Service, from the Budget and Accounting Divisions and under their Director IV." He added that there is also an Assistant Secretary and Undersecretary for Finance.

The former Justice Secretary, however, shared that his officers explained that the funds have been transferred to the accounts to assure that salaries will be released on time.

"This would ensure that there will be no case that payment of salaries will be delayed. At any rate, all balances of  the  ATM  payroll  account  are  utilized  for  the  payment  of  salaries  and emoluments of officials and employees, in the main office and in the regions," he said.

He noted that during the last quarter of the year, when all the cash requirements of the DOJ have been addressed and settled, all the unutilized NCAs (notices of cash allocation) are reverted to the National Treasury.

Aguirre was also assured by DOJ officials  that  they  would  comply  with the COA recommendation to stop this practice.

Meanwhile, he slammed media reports insinuating the funds were transferred to certain beneficiaries.  Aguirre said the COA report merely calls for the submission of the required documents, payroll register.

"It appears that the COA requires the submission of the document entitled Payroll Register. This document is available and submitted to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) as the basis for crediting of the amounts to officials and employees," he added.

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