By Anthony Pagapulaan


President Rodrigo Duterte personally said he will volunteer to account for the Commission on Audit (COA), and all the government agencies if he will be elected as vice president in the 2022 election.

In his Talk to the Nation on August 26 evening, the president asked who audits the expenses in the COA as it is an independent body enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

"So I'm telling you, who audits COA?," Duterte questioned.

"So, who is going to hunt them down? It's difficult. The issue is that this is the case. Cases may take ten years, for all you know," he added.

Moreover, Duterte pleaded to the accounting agency to give government agencies consideration in complying with its recommendations after the baring of deficiencies in some offices.

"Complying isn't easy at all. We are aware that we must comply, and we have no reservations about doing so. But may we just have a little more elbow room? Adopting pre-pandemic criteria is not a good idea. Here's the thing: we've got a problem," said Duterte.

On the other side, Audit Commissioner Heidi Mendoza clarified, on August 18, that their auditors are also examined by assigned assayers.

"COA has in-house auditors. They're very stringent when it comes to COA officials' spending," Mendoza said in Filipino.

In 2014, the current Director of COA - Government Accounting Office (then COA Director) Carmelita Antasuda already revealed how the commission has "very strict rules" on auditing their officials.

“We are also policing our ranks; when we find out, that is investigated and administrative cases are filed,” Antasuda remarked according to a report published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

On Tuesday, August 24, Duterte confirmed his bid in the vice presidential race in the upcoming national elections with his long-term assistant and senator Christopher "Bong" Go, who has been denying his intent for the presidency, as running mate under PDP-LABAN.

Two days after, the president bared his priority — auditing the government agencies — along with continuing his legacy on fighting criminality, graft and corruption, and drugs, which were his 2016 campaign promises that are until now unachieved.

"I'll audit the entire government, including me. I'll start with me.

"But just tell me, I am really trying to figure it out in this democratic setup. Who audited COA? That is my question," he added.

Report source: GMA News