Robredo allays fear of Galvez about being ‘COA-ed’

Published September 5, 2021, 5:35 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Amid vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.’s claim that some government agencies are now wary of handling funds for fear of getting flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA), Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, September 5, that complying to state auditors is for transparency and accountability.

Vice President Leni Robredo (FILE PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)

Even in her own office, the vice president admitted that they are having a hard time complying with all the documentary requirements, but they do it anyway because they are spending the taxpayers’ money.

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) received the highest audit rating for the third consecutive year in 2021. The state auditors gave the OVP an “unqualified opinion” on its financial report for 2020.

READ: Robredo’s office earns COA’s highest audit rating for third time

“Sa amin, Ka Ely, kahit kami nahihirapan din kami. Kahit iyong mga staff namin, Ka Ely, minsan nagrereklamo din kasi mayroon silang mga expenses na kinukuwestiyon pati halimbawa anong kinain, magkano ang kinain sa pinuntahan, kinukuwestiyon iyon (For us, Ka Ely, we are also having a hard time. Even our staff, Ka Ely, are sometimes complaining because they sometimes have expenses that are being questioned for example what they ate, how much did they eat where they went, those are being questioned),” Robredo told co-host Ely Saludar during her weekly radio show.

“Iyong pinaka-end nito iyong transparency at saka accountability dahil pera ng bayan iyong ginagamit natin, eh. So napaka-necessary na nandiyan iyong COA (It’s end goal is transparency and accountability because we are using the taxpayers’ money. COA’s presence is necessary),” she added.

There’s a COA office in every government agency to guide that department on how to handle the funds well.

Robredo noted a way to comply to COA regulations and that’s by coordinating with their in-house auditor.

“So kung mayroon kaming mga hindi sigurado, magtatanong kami sa kanila. ‘Puwede ba ito? Kailangan naming gastusan ito, ano ba ang dapat naming gawin?’ Kasi all the time naman, nag-a-assist sila (So, if we are not sure about something, we ask them. ‘Can we do this? We need to spend on this, what should we do?’ Because all the time, they assist us),” the lady official added.

Last week, Galvez complained that agencies now fear of “getting COA-ed” and dragged into Senate hearings.

READ: Senators to agencies: Why fear COA reports, congressional hearings if you’re clean?

He appealed to the state auditors to give “leeway” to government agencies to allow then to act urgently during the pandemic.

Government officials, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, are under scrutiny after state auditors flagged government agencies for “discrepancies” found in their handling of COVID-19 funds.

This has led to a Senate inquiry into the procurement of allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies.