MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he audit the whole government, including the Commission on Audit (COA), if he is elected as vice president.
Duterte, who has been criticizing the COA since it released its 2020 report that drew questions on how the Department of Health used over P67 billion in COVID-19 funds, said the COA should also be audited.
"Somebody should do that. I will do that, if I become vice president. Ako na lang din ang mag-audit sa lahat ng gobyerno. Lahat. Pati 'yung akin, mag-umpisa ako sa akin," he said in a taped public address aired late Thursday.
(Somebody should do that. I will do that, if I become vice president. I will be the one to audit the whole government. Everything. Even my office, I will start in my office.)
"Sinong nag-a-audit ng COA? That is my question," he added.
(Who audits COA? That is my question.)
Duterte also reiterated his call on COA to give government agencies elbow room when it comes to the liquidation of funds, especially now that the country is in the middle of a pandemic.
"Ito namang COA, may trabaho siya, patapusin mo muna bago mo i-audit. Kasi kung i-audit mo ngayon, skeletal force, may COVID, walang sakyan, wala lahat. It is not easy, really, to comply," he said.
(This COA, he has a job, let him finish before you do an audit. If you audit now, they only have a skeletal force, there's COVID-19, there's no public transportation, nothing. It is not easy, really, to comply.)
COA is the supreme auditing arm of the Philippine government, with the 1987 Constitution reiterating its role as the "sole official external auditor" of government agencies as well as government-owned- and-controlled corporations (GOCCs).
COA is a "Constitutional body," among the few in the country, granting it rare fiscal autonomy precisely because its functions cannot be politicized or influenced by other branches of government.
Earlier in his speech, Duterte urged the public not to believe the graft allegations against his administration.
On Tuesday, Duterte said he will run for vice-president in the 2022 national elections if that's what people really want.