COA’s graft finding vs Teo to help case build-up, says Ombudsman

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 04:11 PM

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales gestures during an interview at the Office of the Ombudsman in Manila on August 23, 2016. File photo

MANILA - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said Thursday the Commission on Audit's (COA) report on the Department of Tourism (DOT), including the possible liability of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo for graft, will help her her office in its on-going fact-finding investigation.

Morales earlier announced that the Office of the Ombudsman launched a motu proprio investigation -a probe conducted sans a complaint - on Teo in relation to government's ad spending on her brother Ben Tulfo’s block-timer show "Kilos Pronto" on state-run People's Television Network. 

“It will certainly help us investigate the case but you know that we are not bound by the COA reports but they will certainly enlighten us in our investigation,” Morales told reporters on the sidelines of a forum at the Asian Institute of Management.

Morales, who is set to step down as Ombudsman later this month, was at the "Investing in Integrity" forum where she reiterated the anti-corruption efforts of her office.

She said that if the COA does not voluntarily give her office a copy of the report, she would request one.

“It will accelerate the finding of facts that have a bearing on the investigation,” Morales said.

Asked whether the return of the questioned funds would exonerate Teo after COA issued a notice of disallowance, Morales said cases may still be filed by the Ombudsman at the Sandiganbayan.

“Now there have been some instances that even if the subject has returned the amount subject of the notice of disallowance, it is not automatically considered as quashal of the offense committed. It will depend on the circumstances,” Morales said.