Oops, my bad, PNP chief admits mistake about COA 'press release' | Inquirer News

Oops, my bad, PNP chief admits mistake about COA ‘press release’

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:42 AM August 20, 2021

PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Following a public backlash, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar admitted he was wrong in suggesting that the Commission on Audit (COA) stop releasing its audit reports to the media and deprive the public of their right to know.

“I stand corrected,” he said in a statement on Thursday.


“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 explained.


During a discussion with concerned PNP officials, Eleazar said he belatedly learned that the COA usually sends its observations directly to the concerned agencies and they are given enough time to review and correct deficiencies or issues before a report is published on its website.

As this developed, Eleazar directed all PNP offices “to further improve their coordination with their respective resident auditors and immediately act on their observations” as required by law.

Taking it all seriously

He said the PNP “has been taking all the COA observations seriously” and had instituted measures to improve their budget spending based on the COA’s recommendations.

“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,” he added.

In a forum on Wednesday, Eleazar said he sympathized with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III after the COA flagged the Department of Health for numerous management deficiencies.

The COA audit renewed calls, especially from health workers’ groups, for Duque to resign from his post.


“Even though the intention of the COA is very good, but if the media outlets write it down in a story, it seems the agencies have already committed a sin,” said Eleazar, whose agency has been severely criticized for its numerous violations of civil rights.

“We think it would be best if we no longer have it aired to the media, like the previous situation where the reports would go straight to us,” he added.

The COA, however, clarified that it was their constitutional mandate to make public their required annual audit reports in compliance with the law.

Unfulfilled contracts

In its latest audit report, the COA flagged the PNP-Special Action Force for unfulfilled contracts amounting to P1.69 billion, delaying the modernization of the elite police unit.

The COA estimated the delay caused cumulative liquidated damages between P1 billion and P1.7 billion.

In his public address earlier this week, President Duterte blamed the COA for publishing its audit reports, saying these would “condemn the agency or person that you are flagging.”

Lawmakers, however, were quick to throw their support behind the COA, saying their work is crucial for checks and balances in the system.

“The COA should not be cowed by intimidating statements, even those coming from the Chief Executive. In fact, those in the COA should proceed with more vigor, courage and independence,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said in a statement.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the COA should not be hindered from doing its constitutional mandate by anyone from the executive, legislative or judiciary.

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“I thought the President was against corruption. So why would they stop the COA from publishing their reports?” she said in a video statement.

TAGS: audit report, COA, Eleazar, Media, PNP‎

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