Some P3.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects nationwide that could have benefited the lower courts have not been fully utilized by the Supreme Court.
Aside from infrastructure, the Supreme Court also has an unuses funds for its unfinished projects under its Enterprise Information Systems Plan (EISP) worth P3.515 billion.
The EISP project approved in 2019 id the judiciary’s information and communications technology master plan.
Denoting a low absorptive capacity of the agency in the efficient and effective utilization of its budgets for infrastructure projects, the Commission on Audit disclosed that out of 48 infrastructure projects for halls of justice in various parts of the country between 2016 and 2019, 39 projects were not constructed or repaired while five others have not yet been completed since 2016 and four others were finished beyond the targeted date of completion.
The project’s non completion was blamed on lack of coordination with implementing agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways, inadequate planning, slow procurement, and lack of technical people.
Based on the 2019 COA report this resulted in idle/unutilized funds amounting to P3.9 billion and since the SC enjoys fiscal autonomy, the unspend funds was declared as savings.
Other problems cited inte implementation of the projects are:
• Lack of an alternative mode of procurement after failed bids and the revision of purchase requests that were still subject to the approval of the court.
• Lack of technical employees to oversee 334 hall of justice buildings nationwide. Citing it has only three engineers, an architect, a building inspector, two engineering assistants, an engineering aide and two draftsmen.
• 15 casual employees as technical personnel were hired only in 2019.
According to COA, the problems “should have been resolved during the preliminary engineering study on the viability of the affected projects and preconstruction/detailed engineering activities.”