Despite the unappeasable critics, President Rodrigo Duterte has reasons to rant against the Commission on Audit (CoA), so says a retired high-ranking state auditor.
Former CoA State Auditor V Art Besana said what was recently released to the public was a mere compilation of audit observation memoranda (AOM) on the Department of Health (DoH) and not the final audit report on the accounts and financial operations of the agency for the period 1 January to 31 December 2020.
“It is the height of irresponsibility for which the chairman of the Commission on Audit, Atty. Michael Aguinaldo, must be held accountable for,” Besana explained.
The immediate public statements of former CoA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza — who spoke “behind her display of her exalted United Nations post, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN for Internal Control Oversight” — that the audit report went through the formal process of review and approval brought out herself to the global realization that she indeed is a “glorified incompetent,” according to the public servant.
Mendoza’s interview to put value to the CoA report was backed up by a flash report by ABS-CBN News, on 18 August 2021, stating “Heidi Mendoza: Release of CoA findings on P67-B DOH funds not premature”.
The release by CoA of the AO as an audit report and the global assertion of Heidi Mendoza that the release of CoA findings on the P67-billion DoH funds was not premature did not sit well with the officials and employees of the audit institution.
Besana said CoA has a tradition of recruiting only the best and honor-laden graduates and has in its roster lawyers, certified public accountants, masters of business administration, academic doctors and engineers.
As such, the commission has the strongest personnel complement in the country and the best in the world. CoA has been elected by the United Nations to the UN Board of Auditors and its auditors have been assigned to audit the embassies and agencies of the world body, Besana noted.
“This honor and tradition started way back 1975, during the Presidency of Ferdinand Marcos who appointed Justice of the Court of Appeals, Francisco S. Tantuico, Jr. whose passion for excellence started the golden age of accounting and auditing services in the Philippines,” he added.
The assistant commissioners, sector directors, regional directors, unit auditors, clerks and even the gardener want to preserve the dignity and integrity of CoA. They want its honor and image unblemished. They are displeased by the failure of the CoA chair to correct the misinformation being spread by Heidi Mendoza.
Besana voiced the demand of CoA officials and employees for Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin to correct or revise his nomination of the CoA candidate to the UN Board of Auditors from “CoA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo” to “Commission on Audit of the Republic of the Philippines”.
“CoA members said that the term of Aguinaldo is only up to the first week of January 2022. The term of the candidate who will be elected in November 2021 will be until 2026,” he noted.
“Because of the undoings of the CoA chairman and the irresponsible misinformation being spread by Mendoza, the constitutional office is now like a patient in an intensive care unit of a public hospital,” Besana noted as he explained, contrary to the negative views about the Health Secretary Francisco Duque, that DoH is in sound financial condition as of 31 December 2020.
“Digong was in control and Duque is exercising the diligence of a good father of a family,” noted Besana.
(To be continued)