Prosecute erring CoA chiefs (1)

Commission on Audit (CoA) chairpersons and some commissioners appointed by President Noynoy Aquino who occupied their posts during the period from 2011 until the end of their term in 2022 are shown by reports and their records to have committed numerous acts that comprise culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption, that rendered them absolutely unfit for the position they held either as head or as commissioner of the audit agency.

I have a recollection of how then newly appointed Commissioner Heidi Mendoza welcomed to her office in CoA self-confessed plunderer of Armed Forces of the Philippines funds, retired Col. George Abonita Rabusa, to serve as the prefatory episode to the main subject of this column.

I found it extremely unethical for the unconfirmed Mendoza to welcome with open arms and entertain Rabusa in her office for over four hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. on 22 July 2011.

The warm reception accorded by Mendoza to the brains of the schemes aimed at looting the military’s coffers is unprecedented in the 111 years history of the audit institution.

Former auditors general, commissioners and chairpersons, rather than demean themselves to the level of the grafter and the corrupt, never in their times entertained characters of dubious reputation to maintain the esteem and respect of the people for the office they hold.

Her loquacious bantering with her fellow whistleblower for over four hours, to the prejudice of her clients who have come to do official business, was simply unprofessional.

Heidi Mendoza showed her quest for fame and glory when she appeared in her resplendent and expensive blue terno during the State of the Nation Address of President Aquino at the Batasan that marked the meteoric rise to splendorous fashion of this “crying lady,” a creation of media, as she walked to the center of attention along with the men and women in high society, unmindful of the critical view of the simple, hardworking and dedicated career men and women of the Audit commission.

They found such display of sudden affluence offensive to their sensibilities for they would prefer a commissioner who is humble rather than someone pretentious.

Come the opportune moment of the confirmation, I saw the illusion of grandeur that she fleetingly enjoyed could stand scrutiny or burst like a balloon, leaving nothing for her to hold on.

It was a moment of truth and an opportunity for me to restore the honor and dignity of the men and women of CoA whom Mendoza insulted and the reputation of world standing of the great institution, the CoA, which she critically maligned and globally shamed.

It was after this meeting with Rabusa in Mendoza’s office that the CoA personnel learned how and why four auditors were included by Rabusa in the plunder cases that he filed against the AFP military officers.

It was shortly after this period when CoA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan issued her illegal and unconstitutional unnumbered memorandum circular on the designation of responsibilities.

Under this circular, Mendoza had oversight authority over the national government, local government, corporate sector and the international audit and relations office.

From this point, the ethical blindness and introduction of political partisanship at the expense of the audit process and reputation of both the audit staff and the institution started, her undermining of basic and cherished principles of intellectual and professional values and not to impede the collegial body to achieve the highest standard of performance, which its highly educated and trained workforce is capable of accomplishing.

(To be continued)

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