MANILA—Senator Koko Pimentel on Wednesday questioned the timing of the release of the Commission on Audit's (COA) report on the top spending senators in 2017.
Pimentel, running for re-election in the May midterm elections, said the COA must not wait "too long" to release its reports.
“Panawagan lang sa COA . . . They’re just doing their job but if it relates to a certain year don’t delay it too long para relevant pa," he said.
"Otherwise, kung nilabas niyo two years, three years after, pati 'yung mga tao maghahanap ng records saan na ba 'yung records because it is taking too long."
Pimentel, who topped the COA list, defended his expenses, saying: “It came as no surprise that I became top spender for 2017 among senators because I was the Senate President for the entire year.”
The office of the Senate President has a higher budget than a “regular senator," he added.
In 2017, Pimentel said his office was given P158 million, of which he spent P127 million, leaving a balance of P31 million.
The Senate President has “many more staff, many more consultant, additional capital outlay, additional foreign travel” compared to other senators, he said.
Pimentel said what has happened “is part of the job” and that all those expenses incurred can be supported by proof that he, as then senate president, has hosted a lot of meetings and activities.