MANILA, Philippines—Senator Panfilo Lacson reiterated on Tuesday that the Commission on Audit (COA) is independent of the executive or legislative branches of government.
In a statement, Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte was “out of line in publicly castigating the COA, which is just performing its mandate and responsibility to the people and the Constitution.”
“For its part, the COA should not be cowed by intimidating statements, even those coming from the Chief Executive. In fact, those in the COA should proceed with more vigor, courage and independence,” he said.
Duterte, during his public address on Monday (August 16), slammed COA and told the agency to stop “flagging” government agencies.
“You make a report, do not flag. Do not publish it because it would condemn the agency or person that you are flagging,” Duterte said.
“What you are doing is flogging. Striking. Please don’t. You keep on flagging but then nobody gets jailed, nobody at all. When you flag, there is already a taint of corruption by perception,” he added.
The senator said COA has a mandate to perform, and its findings and recommendations are public documents. The public, according to Lacson, must be informed of how public monies are spent. AAC