MANILA— "I stand corrected."
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said this Thursday after drawing criticism for his remark that the Commission on Audit should halt sharing audit reports to the media.
"It was made clear to me that the COA does not issue press statements and instead, posts its audit reports on its website as part of its Constitutional mandate for transparency," he said in a statement.
In a Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Eleazar suggested that COA should "revert to the old ways" and stop releasing its audit reports to the media.
This comes after COA, the government's spending watchdog, flagged various government agencies over their handling of public funds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleazar said he had a consultation with PNP officials on Wednesday night on "how disbursement works and up to the level of COA intervention."
"It was also discussed that the COA has been actually doing what I have suggested by sending its observations to the PNP offices concerned and giving them enough time to review and correct its observations before a report is published in its website," he said.
To prevent the police force from "unnecessary situations" when the PNP becomes the subject of COA's audit report, "which are eventually misconstrued as tantamount to misuse of funds, or worse, corruption," Eleazar has directed his subordinates to further improve their coordination with respective auditors and immediately act on their observations.
He said the PNP takes COA observations "seriously."
"I assure the Filipino people that the hard-earned money they give to the PNP through their taxes is safe and is wisely spent as part of our continuous commitment to genuine reforms that are anchored on transparency, accountability and professionalism," Eleazar said.