Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen Guillermo Eleazar apologized for his pressure on the Commission on Audit (COA) to release audit reports to the public, even though the commission has been doing this for a long time everyday year.
This is happening now as the COA flags “deficiencies” and “questionable” use of funds by the Department of Health, Department of Information and Communications, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Just last July, in their 2020 report, the state auditors questioned the PNP for their delayed and undelivered projects worth P1.69 billion, apart from the “low spending” of their 2020 anti-insurgency funds at 12%.
“In a forum I attended yesterday, August 18, I categorically suggested that the [COA] should stop releasing its audit reports to the media and instead revert to the old ways when all observations on budget spending are internally directed to the government agencies concerned,” said Eleazar, Thursday.
“I stand corrected.”
The COA does not issue press statements to the media regarding their audit reports but only posts them on their website annually as part of transparency.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte also punished the COA for visiting the DOH’s “deficiencies” in their P67.3 billion fund set aside for the COVID-19 response. He said they should stop releasing it and not audit first “while his work is not done.”
PNP chief Eleazar apologizes for criticisms vs. COA report releases
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque explained on Wednesday that the COA should release a final report and not an initial report to the public so that the agencies that notice the questions can be answered first. It is said that the departments are immediately judged as corrupt.
“It was also discussed that the COA had been actually doing what I have suggested by sending its observations to the PNP offices concerned and giving them enough time to review and correct its observations before a report is published in its website,” said Eleazar.
“As a result of this consultation, I am directing all the Police Regional Offices, the National Administrative Support Units, the National Operational Support Units and the National Headquarters to further improve their coordination with their respective Resident Auditors and immediately act on their observations to prevent unnecessary situations when the PNP, or any of its unit, becomes the subject of the COA Annual Audit Reports which are eventually misconstrued as tantamount to misuse of funds, or worse, corruption.”
“I assure the Filipino people that the hard-earned money they give to the PNP through their taxes is safe and is wisely spent as part of our continuous commitment to genuine reforms that are anchored on transparency, accountability, and professionalism,” Eleazar continued.