COA to Cebu City Mayor: Correct delegation of authority
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has recommended to Mayor Edgardo Labella to correct the delegation of duties in his administration.
This after the COA found out that the mayor has authorized the City Administrator to sign disbursement vouchers, payrolls, purchase requests, and other official documents without imposing limitations as to the extent and scope of this authority.
The state audit reminds the city government that this is contrary to the National Guidelines on Internal Control Systems and pertinent Government Accounting and Auditing Manual (GAAD) Volume III, thereby creating a risk that the City can enter into a transaction without the knowledge of the local chief executive and ambiguous accountability on the City’s financial affairs.
COA noticed that disbursements of vouchers, purchase requests, purchase orders, cheques, obligations, requests and statuses were signed by the City Administrator Floro Casas, Jr., instead of Mayor Labella.
The authority of the city administrator stemmed in a resolution by the City Council and an office order released on July 19, 2021, citing the exigency of the service to provide the best public service to the constituents of Cebu City.
In the Revised Charter of Cebu City, the City Mayor shall have immediate control over all executive functions of the city’s departments and agencies, further stating in Section 2 that, “The Mayor shall have the following general powers and duties… (i) To represent the city in all its business matters and sign in its behalf all bonds, contracts, and obligations made in accordance with the laws or ordinances.”
On the same charter, the role of the city administrator is carved stemming from the appointment of the mayor and the approval of two-thirds of the City Council members provided that the responsibilities exercised in the position is under the supervision of the local chief executive and to perform all other duties required of him by the ordinance or assigned to him in writing by the mayor.
COA found out that in 2020, disbursement of P25,000,000 was signed mostly by Casas, inferring that the authority and responsibility for these documents were not signed by the City Mayor but by the City Administrator.
“This is a manifestation of weakness of the City’s Internal Control System that could give rise to different risks. The risk where the City Administrator can enter into a transaction without the knowledge of the City Mayor is very apparent. Likewise, the risk of having ambiguous accountability could occur because of their shared powers and functions. Consequently, the determination of accountability between the two persons can be difficult,” said COA.
COA’s assessment of the Internal Control System of the city revealed that the said delegation of authority must be corrected and that the limitations of the scope of authority of the City Administrator be defined.
The city government explained in their report to COA that they will review the City Council Resolution for the scope and limitation of the authority of the City Administrator.
“What the City needs is a clear and well-defined scope of the delegation of authority and responsibility to the City Administrator,” said COA.
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