COA: MOOE not ‘discretionary’ funds; Commission’s role to validate MOOE spent in accordance with law

Published: 13 January 2013

The Commission on Audit (COA) clarified that Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) is not a discretionary fund.

COA Chairperson Ma. Gracia M. Pulido Tan, in her reply to the first letter of Senator Miriam Santiago, said that under Section 63 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA), MOOE appropriations may only be used for the purposes specified and listed in the GAA. In the case of the Senate, these are general administration and support, legislative services and operational requirements of 35 congressional commissions and oversight committees listed in the GAA.

“Per type of expenditure, the MOOE is specified in the GAA to be used for traveling, communication, repairs and maintenance, transportation and delivery, supplies and materials, rents, utility, training and scholarship, extraordinary and miscellaneous, taxes insurance premium and other fees, professional services, printing and binding, advertising, representation, subscription, and membership duties and contribution,” the Chairperson explained.

Chairperson Tan reiterated that the Commission’s role is to examine, audit and validate “whether the augmentation is in fact sourced from savings; whether the requirements of law and applicable rules and regulations have been complied with in making the augmentation; and whether such additional MOOE went to the purpose’s specified in the GAA.”

In connection with this, Chairperson Tan had earlier vowed to tighten liquidation rules on MOOE as reports of abuses continue to be revealed. Tan said this is pursuant to Section 61 of Presidential Decree No. 1445 that all expenses incurred shall be duly ascertained by the Commission to have been duly authorized; adequately funded and documented; properly recorded; actually incurred; and appropriately and consistently classified.

“We are in the process of coming out with new rules on cash advances and liquidation and this is something that we could address. We are really encouraged by these developments,” she said.

Chairperson Tan stressed the exclusive authority granted by the 1987 Constitution to the COA to define the scope of its audit and examination including the promulgation of accounting and auditing rules and regulations.