Should he get elected as vice president, President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he would take it upon himself to audit the Commission on Audit and the entire government after the constitutional body's most recent findings stirred public conversation on the use of pandemic funds.
Duterte appealed to state auditors to give government agencies "enough elbow room" to comply with rules and meet requirements, citing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's not easy really to comply, we know that we should comply. There is no problem about it. But can we have just enough elbow room at this time? Do not adopt the standards of the pre-pandemic days," the President in a taped cabinet meeting aired on Thursday close to midnight.
Duterte asked who audits COA then volunteered to take the job should he win the vice presidency next year. The 76-year-old Duterte earlier this week confirmed plans of running for vice president--a first for any Philippine leader.
"Somebody should do it. I will --- I will do that if I become vice president. Ako na lang rin ang mag-audit sa lahat ng gobyerno. Lahat, pati 'yung akin, mag-umpisa ako sa akin," he said.
For those wondering who audits the COA, the commission has resident auditors that serve as the body's watchdogs too. It could be likened to the Department of Budget and Management, which handles all of the budgeting process for the government, including itself.
The COA earned the ire of President Duterte after the body's audit report on the Department of Health flagged its use of some P67 billion in pandemic funds. The report earned DOH public scrutiny with netizens even branding Health Sec. Francisco Duque III a "sad boi" over his emotional outburst over the matter.
The COA however clarified that it did not allege corruption in its report.