Estrada grills COA chief over audit report-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
THE Senate's hearing on the budget of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday gave Senator Jinggoy Estrada a chance to confront the head of the agency, whose audit observation report served as basis for the filing of plunder charges against him and two other senators.
Estrada, along with Senator Bong Revilla and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Estrada said COA Chief Grace Pulido Tan issued an incomplete audit report, which obviously targeted opposition senators.
He said based on the report itself, the coverage for the audit for the three senators ranged from 90 percent to 95 percent while the coverage for the other senators was only 40 percent.
"Bakit pili lamang ang sinisisi niyo. At di ba implementing agency dapat ang managot. Bakit kami na mga mambabatas ang sisisihin niyo" asked Estrada.
Pulido-Tan said the actual handling of fund was different from managing it.
The COA chief said the report did not claim completeness but maintained that there are no irregularities and no malice in any COA report under her supervision.
During hearing, Estrada questioned Pulido-Tan why COA and their auditors did not warn any of the legislators on the alleged questionable non-government organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
"You should call our attention. Kahit kami ang nag endorso dapat abisuhan niyo kami na bogus pala ang mga ito. Dapat ipatigil niyo ang pagbibigay ng pondo. Wala kontrol sa anumang pondo ang sinuman mambabatas," said Estrada.
Pulido-Tan maintained that there was nothing personal and no political agenda as far as COA's report is concern.
"We are just doing our job and we are acting based on the documents. We have no authority to stop any of the legislators because our job is only to audit.
However, she admitted that COA was not able to stop the transfer of funds to the questionable NGOs which she said will also be investigated.
Earlier in the day, Estrada was irked by the remark of Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano calling on three senators to appear in the chamber's investigation into the pork barrel scam.
"No one has the right to tell him what to do," Estrada said in response to Cayetano's challenge.
Estrada said Cayetano should keep his opinion to himself and insisted that he does not need his colleague's advice in any matter.
Cayetano earlier said senators implicated in the multi-billion pesos pork barrel scam should face the Senate Blue Ribbon investigation chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III and answer the allegations hurled at them.
Estrada, however, said Cayetano should know his limit and boundary.
Like Revilla and Enrile, Estrada maintained his innocence on the charges, saying that his conscience is clear. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)