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STATEMENT | Integrated Bar of the Philippines On the Constitutional Duty of the Commission on Audit

 

 

PUBLIC auditors are a key element in good governance and fulfill an invaluable public service – informing the people how their money was spent. 

The constitutional duty of the COA is to “examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of (public) funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities.” [Section 2(1), Art IX-D] 

It is given the EXCLUSIVE authority to adopt rules, techniques, and methods for the “prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures.”

When the COA issues a report, it fulfills its constitutional duty, nothing more. The most important component of government, especially during a pandemic, is its funds and resources. The COA’s function is to track its use and determine whether it was utilized in an “unnecessary” or “extravagant” manner. The COA’s report by itself bears no malice and is actually based on the government’s own records or the lack of it. Whatever “taint” or “perception” of corruption that arises from a COA report is not the fault of the auditors who are simply doing their sworn function. 

We submit that rather than criticizing the COA and its auditors, the Department of Health should instead cooperate with them and explain the “deficiencies” and submit documentation or supporting papers to explain its side.

 

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