Prosecute CoA chiefs (2)

Thank you, Mr. Fred Yturzaeta, for your comment on the first part of this episode that “CoA has been a prostituted agency since the time of Penoy3 in 2011 to CP Aguinaldo in 2022.”

The following continuation, leading to the main subject of this column, will prove you true and correct.

The rank and file of the Commission on Audit (CoA) is the backbone and brain of the institution. They are the highly educated and trained workforce empowered by the United Nations (UN) audit body to review embassies of the countries of the world and the various UN agencies. They gained that right after CoA, through its honored chairpersons, was elected into the Board of Auditors of the United Nations in 1983 and 1991.

The ethical blindness of the Commission Proper and their introduction of political partisanship at the expense of the audit process and the reputation of the audit staff and the institution; their undermining of basic and cherished principles of intellectual and professional values, and not arrive or impede the collegial body to achieve the highest standard of performance, which its highly skilled and educated personnel complement is capable of accomplishing; but instead to cover up and excuse the shortcomings of people allied with the administration and even in CoA of people of their choice are acts that did not sit well with the core of the rank and file for they erode public confidence in the exercise of the audit process.

This impunity was typified by an early morning screaming headline of a local newspaper: “CoA tells Bongbong Marcos to return his P10-M pork barrel.”

CoA old-timers were quick to comment. It was foolish to tell Bongbong to refund an amount of which he was not a custodian. Neither was he the approving officer in the disbursement of such fund. Neither did he certify to the necessity of such payment nor of any payment.

It turned out later on that the newspaper headline of CoA telling Bongbong Marcos to return his P10-million pork was linked to CoA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan’s bid to secure the vacant Supreme Court post as indicated by the following events:

• Early July 2014, Pulido-Tan announced to CoA officials and employees that she would leave the agency in August to assume her new position as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

• On 8 August 2014, the CoA head ordered the release to the ATM accounts of 8,000 CoA employees her farewell gift of P30,000 each, or a total of over P200 million, charged against savings from unfilled CoA positions, with a pledge of an additional P30,000 each again on 21 August 2014, after her appointment to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; and
• In addition, the multimillionaire CoA chief gifted each of the six CoA assistant commissioners with a Mitsubishi Montero van valued at P1.7 million each, and a Starex van for each of the two commissioners as her goodbye gifts at government expense, her monumental legacy without precedence in CoA’s more than 115-year history.

From 18 to 19 August 2014, reliable sources from inside the auditors’ compound sent text messages, telling Pulido-Tan was shredding her confidential files preparatory to the assumption of her new post at the Supreme Court.

But unfortunately came the sad news from the radio of a reversal in the position of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who argued for the inclusion in the short list of Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, that paved the way for his appointment as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court a few hours after.

(To be continued)

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