Palace mulls Mendoza, Padaca for top COA post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2011 04:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2011 03:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A Palace official on Wednesday floated the names of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza and former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca as possible replacements of Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar.

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said so many names are being floated for the top COA post. Asked if Mendoza could replace Villar, he said: "I think it might be possible without being definite."

Mendoza has received widespread support for exposing massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Mendoza led a COA team that investigated alleged irregularities in the AFP during the time of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Malacañang earlier said COA chairman Villar must vacate his position once a replacement is named.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Villar’s term ended February 2, 2011 as expressly stated in his appointment papers. The President is now looking at possible replacements for Villar.

“Based on our appointment papers that we have in possession, it is very unequivocal. His appointment ends on February 2, 2011. So we believe his term ended,” Lacierda said.

“He’s raising a legal issue of having his term ending at 2015. As far as we are concerned, we are looking for competent people with integrity to occupy people with integrity to occupy positions in the COA. As you know, it is now very recently a magnet of controversy. That’s the reason why it is important for us to appoint men and women of integrity and who have clean record," he added.

Lacierda brushed aside Villar’s statement where he said that the fact that the President has not named a replacement after February 2 showed that the President still wanted him to stay on.  With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News