COA chief: Go ahead, audit us

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2011 12:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 15 2011 01:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Reynaldo Villar is open to a proposal subjecting the agency’s executives and employees to a lifestyle check amid allegations of bribery and corruption stemming from the military.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Villar said he sees no problem with the proposal of Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, Jr. to “audit” all 6,000 auditors.

“If that should proceed, we welcome it. I think even the senior executives of COA will welcome it,” he said.

The proposal came amid allegations by former employee Heidi Mendoza, who said she was told by former COA Chairman Guillermo Carague to go easy on her investigation.

The investigation bolstered the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia. The subsequent developments in this main case finally triggered revelations of the supposed widespread corruption in the military.

Another auditor, Divina Cabrera, was also tagged in the scandal. She supposedly received bribe money to keep secret the conversion of funds there.

“If there is truth to the allegations [on the integrity of the COA], go ahead, do the lifestyle check. I hope it will not be selective though. It should not be confined to the COA alone,” he added.

He stressed that the COA is also now checking the different assignments of its auditors after a hearing in the Senate revealed that Cabrera served with the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) for 13 years, instead of the usual 3 years based on rules.

“Normally, the tour of duty is only 3 years. However, the concerned agency also requests for a longer duty for the assigned auditor especially if they have a good working relationship,” he said.

Nonetheless, Villar stressed he did not know of the 13 years that Cabrera served with the AFP.

“We’ve started with the study [of the assignments]. It will take us a long time. We will start here in the National Capital Region,” he added.