Ex-COA chief: Every Filipino should fight corruption
MANILA, Philippines – “It always takes two to tango.”
This was the statement of former Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Grace Pulido-Tan on the government’s fight against corruption.
Tan, in an integrity forum in Makati, said that combatting corruption is not the battle of the government alone but of every Filipino.
“If we really want to fight corruption, we have to start it ourselves. It’s not for the government to solve it. We have to solve it first,” she said.
The COA chair, who retired from her post last February, said people had become complacent in the fight against corruption.
“We have the problem because we have allowed the government and people to get away with it,” she said.
“If we really want to get ahead then we just have to take the inconvenience, perhaps the sacrifice to say no,” she added.
During her term as COA chair, she said auditing has been “strict,” which led to the discovery of red flags in government transactions.
“In terms of management of financial transactions or handling the people’s money, there has been an improvement,” she said.
In 2014, the COA conducted a special audit of the construction of an allegedly overpriced P2.3-billion Makati City Parking Building.
Tan then noted “red flags” in the construction such as the division of the project into several phases and questioning the quick award of the contracts.
On Wednesday, March 11, the Ombudsman suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay over the alleged overpriced building.
Asked to comment on the decision, Tan said, “I don’t have any reaction. That’s the call of the Ombudsman and I think we should respect that.”
The COA, during Tan’s tenure, has also launched a government-wide audit, which led to the investigation of the multi-billion pork barrel scam.
Lawmakers involved in the elaborate scam have faced trial while three senators and other legislators have been put to jail after the Ombudsman found probable cause to proceed with their trial.
After she bowed out from office last February, Tan said she has been enjoying her retirement.
“Nice. Wonderful,” she said.
The former COA chief is currently part of the United Nations (UN) independent advisory committee.
In February, Tan was named as one of the Filipino of the Year awardees by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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