Duterte digging up old COA reports ‘rich in irony, hypocrisy’ – De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reeks of “irony and hypocrisy” for bringing up old audit reports on the previous administration when he himself cannot even make public his own Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Senator Leila de Lima said Wednesday.
According to De Lima, Duterte’s apparent strategy to dodge explanations on current COA reports involving government agencies under his administration “is a clear case of misdirection.”
“For someone who cannot even publicly disclose and release his own SALN, Duterte’s accusation against me and Sec. Mar Roxas regarding COA’s past reports on our agencies is just plain rich in irony and hypocrisy,” De Lima said in a statement.
“Duterte raising issue with COA reports on the DILG and the DOJ under the PNoy Administration is a clear case of misdirection. I challenge Duterte to file cases with the Ombudsman arising from those COA reports,” she added.
In a taped speech aired late Tuesday night, Duterte raised that COA previously flagged the Department of Justice (DOJ) under De Lima over P617.44 million worth of unliquidated cash advances as well as the Department of Interior and Local Government under Mar Roxas over P7 billion worth unliquidated cash advances.
But De Lima pointed out that the audit reports enumerated by Duterte “have long been settled and closed.”
The senator also stressed that despite those audit observations during their time, she and Roxas did not threaten COA even after those reports were made public.
“Walang nagsisigaw sa aming dalawa sa telebisyon na winarak kami ng COA,” De Lima said, alluding to Health Secretary Francisco Duque’s “winarak” rant over a COA report finding more than P67 billion “deficiency” in the Department of Health’s 2020 pandemic budget.
(Neither of us went on television to say we were destroyed by the COA.)
“At lalong hindi namin sinabihan ang COA na doktorin o ‘i-reconfigure’ nila ang report nila. Hindi katulad ng iba diyan na daig pa ang telenobela sa hapon kung magdrama at magbanta laban sa COA,” she added.
(Most of all, we did not tell COA to alter or reconfigure their report. Unlike some of those who are better than the soap operas when it comes to threatening COA.)
Malacañang has clarified that Duterte’s harsh words against COA were not threats but only an expression of “frustration.”
The Palace also made clear that the President does not want COA to stop publishing its reports, but only wait until agencies submit their responses.
As a constitutional body, COA publishes all of its audit reports and observations on its website that is publicly accessible as part of its mandate to promote transparency, which is meant to fight corruption in government.
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