Major revamp in COA due March, says Villar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2011 09:36 AM | Updated as of Feb 15 2011 09:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Reynaldo Villar announced Tuesday that he will implement a major revamp in the commission due to allegations that some state auditors are involved in government corruption.

Villar said he will revamp all resident auditors assigned in all government agencies starting March.

He said that the revamp was scheduled next month because all state auditors have to submit their annual audit reports due on February 28.

"Pagkatapos niyan puwede na... Ang batayan ko naman ay hinihingi ng interest of the service. Major revamp ito," Villar said in an interview on ABS-CBN's morning show, Umagang Kay Ganda.

Meanwhile, Villar said that he has already replaced Divina Cabrera, resident auditor of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Cabrera has been accused of receiving part of converted military funds, which she denied in a hearing at the Senate.

Villar said the COA will conduct an internal investigation on the allegations against Divina once he receives the facts of the case. Other state auditors accused of corruption will also be probed, he said.

Meanwhile, Villar insisted that his term will end in February 2015, not last February 2, 2011 as claimed by Antonio La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

"Sa aking paniniwala ay ang aking term ay magtatapos pa sa 2015," he said.

La Viña claimed that based on the constitution, all commissioners of constitutional bodies, including COA, should only serve for 7 years.

He said Villar was appointed COA commissioner on February 2004 and his term should end February 2011.

From the position of commissioner, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed Villar as COA chairman in February 2008.

Villar claimed that the 7-year rule should start when he was appointed chairman of the commission.

Villar said that he sent a letter to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, through the office of Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa, clarifying the issue.

He said that since he is still sitting as COA chief, he feels he has the confidence of the President.

La Viña, meanwhile, said that only the Supreme Court can clarify the issue on Villar's appointment.