Commission on Audit chair orders his staff: Avoid the stairs
“I just told the auditors, avoid the stairs.”
This was Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Michael Aguinaldo’s quick remark, when asked to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent expression of disdain for the constitutional agency.
Aguinaldo declined reporters’ request for an interview after the COA signed a memorandum of agreement with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Tuesday.
The agreement was meant to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the COA and the PACC in areas such as the sharing of information, the conduct of consultative meetings and the creation of joint task forces when the need arises.
‘President should know’
Asked if the presidential body’s coordination with the COA meant the President acknowledged its mandate, PACC Chair Dante Jimenez said the President could not disregard the COA, which he noted was a constitutional body.
“He is a lawyer, so he knows. You know the President as I understand him, he has quotable quotes — meaning to say controversial statements that usually can be distorted,” Jimenez told reporters.
The President on Sept. 16 said in Laoag City: “Who’s from COA here? Push him down the stairs so he won’t report anymore.”
‘Shit of a circular’
He was goaded by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, who whined about her troubles with the COA, particularly in getting cash advances and loans for disaster response in the aftermath of Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: Mangkhut) that devastated northern Luzon.
The President also encouraged local government officials to ignore the audit regulations of the COA, dismissing them as just a “shit of a circular.”
This was despite the Constitution explicitly granting the COA “exclusive authority… [to] promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations.”
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