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Why COA Reports Trigger Filipinos Easily, According to Ex-Whistleblower

Ex-COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza explains.
by Pia Regalado
2 days ago
Photo/s: PCOO

Filipinos on a day-to-day existence and in fear of getting sick during the COVID-19 pandemic can't help but get riled up by Commission on Audit reports that expose misuse of government funds, a former member of the constitutional body said Wednesday.

Former COA commissioner Heidi Mendoza, whose exposed alleged corruption in the military a decade ago, was asked in a public forum about public outrage over COA reports that flagged "deficiencies" in the use of P67 billion in COVID funds by the Department of Health.

"Mahirap ang pinagdadaanan ng mamamayan. Kung ikaw ay ordinaryong tao, nagkasakit ka, wala kang pampagamot, maiisip mo, 'aba paano ba ginagamit ng gobyerno 'yung pera na binabayad ko sa taxes?'" Mendoza said.

The public can conclude based from the facts in COA reports, said Mendoza. "'Pag nagsama 'yan, mai-influence n'yan ang objective reading of the audit report," she said.

Among the items in the P67 billion budget is P700,000 for four "high-end" laptops that the DOH has suspended following public uproar.

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Alaso among recent findings: sanitary pads bought from a construction store by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and a P10-million infinity pool project by the Philippine Ports Authority.


Mendoza said that COA wouldn't issue a report without an exit conference or last consultation with the DOH, where it will be given the chance to refute the state auditors' findings. 

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III earlier said that it was "unfair, unjust" for COA to release the report without giving the DOH a chance to defend itself. The COA chairman, Michael Aguinaldo denied this.

"The audit report acts as a vessel to inform the public about those deficiencies and to correct those deficiencies," Mendoza said.

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Mendoza said she hoped the COA reports would factor into the public's decision-making in the 2022 elections. "Gising ang mga mamamayan sa usaping pananagutan."

"If our citizens will continue to demand accountability and appreciate the value of our audit reports, I think may pag-asa sa pagpili ng kakandidato."

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