Duterte can't audit COA as VP, says Binay; backs creation of independent body

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2021 11:05 AM

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MANILA – A senator on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte cannot audit the Commission on Audit even if he wins the vice-presidency in 2022, saying auditing the COA is not among the powers of the vice president.

“Coming from experience as a daughter of a former vice president, I don’t think function ng vice president, di kasama doon sa powers and function ng vice president yung mag-audit. That power was given specifically to COA, kaya kahit vice president na siya I don’t think he can do that,” Sen. Nancy Binay said on ANC’s Headstart.

Binay’s comments came after Duterte said he would audit the whole government, including the COA, if he is elected vice president.

Binay added, however, that she understands where the president is coming from, noting that the COA also flagged the alleged overpriced purchase of equipment for the Ospital ng Makati in 2000 and 2001 when her mother, Elenita Binay, was mayor of Makati. 

In 2018 the COA's Fraud Audit Office also sent two notices of disallowance to the Makati City government in connection with the P2.29 billion design and construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building 2, a project of former Makati City mayors Jejomar Binay and Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. 

“Alam naman natin yung pinagdaanan ng pamilya ko di ba? How the COA audit was used against us to ruin my family," she said. 

In the interview, Binay said she is in favor of the creation of an independent body to audit COA, citing that there may be conflict of interest in the supreme auditing arm of the Philippine government auditing themselves.

“I also raised the same issue in one of the budget hearings, na I asked nga yung COA, who audits you? And apparently, they audit themselves.”

“So if I remember it correctly nagkaroon ng mga proposals in Congress to create another independent body to probably audit COA. Kasi nga ‘di ba, parang may conflict ‘yun na they audit themselves?” she 

“But if I remember it, during the hearings sinasabi nila na kahit naman daw sila, nagkakaroon ng disallowance,” she added.

Her personal experiences aside, Binay said it’s high time for a review of the systems used by COA.

“I think talaga naman it’s high time for us to review yung system being used by COA dahil meron naman sila talagang mga audit findings na hindi na timely, hindi na siya, it doesn’t go with the times anymore.”

“I think katulad ngayon alam naman natin na we’re shifting to digital, hindi pa ata nila nai-incorporate yung for example…online booking, hindi pa siya nagiging bahagi as part of procurement, ‘yung online system.”

“So there’s really a need to kumbaga update COA,” she said.