President Rodrigo Duterte. FILE photo / MALACAÑANG
MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to audit the Commission on Audit (COA) and other government agencies should he be elected as vice president.
Duterte said this as he questioned who looks into the finances of COA during a taped speech aired late Thursday.
“Sinong nag-o-audit ng COA? May I ask that question?” Duterte said, directing the question to his chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo who was present in the meeting.
(Who audits COA? May I ask that question?)
“Wala [none],” Panelo told Duterte.
Duterte then said: “Somebody should do it. I will do that if I become vice president. Ako na lang din ang mag-audit sa lahat ng gobyerno. Lahat. Pati yung akin. Mag-umpisa ako sa akin.”
(Somebody should do it. I will do that if I become vice president. I will also audit all government agencies. All. Including mine. I will start with mine.)
“But just tell me, I’ve been really trying to figure out in this democratic setup. Sinong o-audit ng COA [Who’s going to audit COA]? That is my question,” he went on.
The President then claimed he is a “victim” of COA’s audit reports.
“Kaya sabi ko nga sayo, bakit ganito ang salita ko, dahil nga biktima ako sa inyo. Yan ang problema dyan. From your reports, nagkakaso ako, dumating ako ng Supreme Court,” Duterte said.
(That is why I’m telling you, why am I talking to you like this, because I am your victim. That is the problem there. From your reports, I had a case, I reached the Supreme Court.)
The President also asked if COA could give agencies an “elbow room” to comply with its recommendations due to the pandemic.
“It is not easy really to comply. We know that we should comply, there is no problem about it. But can we have just enough elbow room? Do not adopt the standards of the pre-pandemic days. We have a problem here,” Duterte said.
Under the Constitution, COA has the power, authority and duty to examine all accounts of government.
As a constitutional body, it publishes all of its audit reports and observations on its website that is publicly accessible as part of its mandate to promote transparency.
President has agreed
to be the vice presidential candidate of the ruling party PDP-Laban in next year’s elections.
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