Harry Roque on COA reports on government agencies: “Cool po muna tayo”
On Thursday, Malacañang said that President Rodrigo Duterte will only consider the final reports of the Commission on Audit (COA) in taking action against government agencies’ supposed questionable spending.
When asked if Malacañang was planning to take actions against government agencies flagged by state auditors, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his regular press briefing said that the President knew how to read a COA report.
Roque also noted that COA’s preliminary observations “have no meaning yet”. Still, he stressed that government agencies should answer COA’s preliminary observations in a “detailed” and “quick” manner.
“Sa ngayon po, ang aking advice, cool po muna tayo dahil itong puntong ito, puwede pa po sagutin at antayin po natin ang final reports,” Roque said.
Earlier, President Duterte told the Commission on Audit to “stop flagging” and “not publish” its reports as it tainted agencies with “corruption by perception”.
However, Roque clarified on the following day that the President didn’t want state auditors to stop publishing its reports but to only wait until government agencies submitted their responses.
Roque also said that President Duterte wasn’t threatening the constitutional body and was only expressing frustration.
The Commission on Audit regularly posted its audit reports and observations on its official website, which was accessible to the public, as part of its mandate in order to promote transparency and to fight corruption in the Philippine government.
COA’s controversial report finding “deficiencies” worth more than PHP 67 billion in the Department of Health’s 2020 pandemic budget stirred furor from both the public and the administration.
Inquirer reported that the COA report didn’t say that the deficiencies were due to corruption as it even offered recommendations on how the Department of Health could rectify the issues.