Nancy Binay, COA chair Tan bicker in Malampaya probe
MANILA, Philippines—A tense moment ensued during Monday’s Senate hearing on the alleged P900-million Malampaya fund scam after Senator Nancy Binay demanded Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Maria Grace Pulido Tan to release the preliminary audit findings on other government agencies.
Binay asked Tan if the COA could reveal the audit highlights on other agencies other than the Department of Agrarian Reform and two related agencies.
Tan said the COA could not do so until it has finished auditing all government agencies involved in the Malampaya scam.
“As a matter of policy, we do not disclose the results of audit until we are ready to release. Kasi in the course of the review, baka may magbabago pa po depende pa po sa aming audit evidence,” Tan said.
Binay then questioned why the COA released the audit highlights on the Makati City Hall Building 2 when the audit was still ongoing.
“If I remember correctly, in another hearing, you already disclosed audit highlights. Bakit hindi ninyo puwedeng i-disclose ngayon?” Binay said.
“Ako po ‘yun, ako po ‘yun?” Tan replied.
Binay said it was a representative from COA.
“If I remember, I have not disclosed any audit findings in any hearing,” Tan said. “Are you referring to the Makati carpark building (probe), Madam?”
Binay gave the affirmative.
“I don’t think those were audit findings. Those are red flags,” the COA chief said.
“No, they submitted preliminary findings and they disclosed it during the (Makati building) hearing,” Binay retorted.
“Wala pa pong audit ‘yun, Ma’am. Initial evaluation. ‘Yun po ang tinatawag naming red flags,” Tan said.
To which the senator said, “Yun na nga eh. Initial pa lang, it was already disclosed.”
“Iba po ‘yun sa audit. ‘Yung red flags po, on the bare face of evidence, makikita mo kaagad. This is the direction of our audit,” Tan said.
“So, dito walang red flags?” Binay asked.
“Meron po nung umpisa but since we went through with it already, we cannot disclose the results of the audit,” Tan said, adding that since it was already evaluated by state auditors, the results cannot be revealed.
Binay then asked to subpoena the documents of the audit highlights.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said he woud rule on Binay’s request some other time.
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