Lacson says Duterte ‘out of line’ in publicly castigating COA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 17, 2021   •   446

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 Do not publish it because it would condemn the agency or person that you are flagging,” Duterte said.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

 

Lacson-Sotto tandem to endorse 15 senatorial bets in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III has bared the list of senatorial candidates they will be endorsing in the 2022 national and local elections.

The list includes the following senatorial bets:

  1. Antique Rep. Loren Legarda
  2. Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero
  3. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  4. Senator Migs Zubiri
  5. Senator Joel Villanueva
  6. Senator Richard Gordon
  7. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay
  8. Former DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan
  9. Former Senator JV Ejercito
  10. Former QC Mayor Herbert Bautista
  11. Former DA Secretary Manny Piñol
  12. Monsour del Rosario
  13. Powee Capino
  14. Minguita Padilla

Sotto said the senatorial candidates included in their list are the ones who “deserve to be in the Senate.”

They will also endorse a “surprise candidate.”

“Tulungan niyo po kami sa pagtaguyod sa kandidatura ng ating mga kaibigan. Nakakasiguro po kami na malaki ang maitutulong ng ating mga kandidato sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan, at sa Senado,” Sotto said.

Lacson and Sotto are seeking the presidency and vice presidency, respectively, in the next year’s polls.

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Pangulong Duterte sa mga ayaw magpabakuna vs COVID-19: ‘Turukan habang tulog’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Muling umapela si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa publiko na magpabakuna na kontra COVID-19 upang agad nang maabot ng bansa ang minimithing herd protection laban sa nakakahawang sakit.

Ginawa ng pangulo ang apela sa gitna ng marami pa ring bilang ng mga Pilipinong ayaw magpabakuna sa kabila ng pagdating ng mga suplay sa bansa.

 Kung ayaw magpabakuna, sinabi ng pangulo na dapat hanapin ang mga ito sa bawat barangay at “turukan habang tulog.”

“Alam ko marami pang ayaw eh. Iyan ang problema ‘yung ayaw, ayaw magpabakuna. Kaya hanapin ninyo ‘yan sa barangay ninyo. Akyatin natin ‘pag tulog at turukin natin habang natutulog para makumpleto ‘yung istorya. Eh kung ayaw, eh ‘di akyatin sa bahay eh, tusukin natin sa gabi. Ako ang mag-ano — I will lead the journey,” ang wika ng pangulo sa kanyang recorded na Talk to the People noong Lunes ng gabi.

Sa ngayon ay pinalalawak na ng pamahalaan ang coverage ng mass vaccination sa bansa.

Sa Biyernes, Oktubre 15, ilulunsad na ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 na may co-morbidities saw along ospital sa Metro Manila.

Sinisimulan na rin ang pagbabakuna sa general adult population sa ilang lugar.

Nasa 23 milyong Pilipino ang fully vaccinated laban sa COVID-19 habang 26 milyon naman ang nakatanggap ng unang dose mula nang simulan ang vaccination program noong buwan ng Marso.

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