Press Release
September 13, 2023

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Ombudsman's proposal against publication of COA audit memos

Good governance requires more, not less, transparency on the use of precious public funds. Kung talagang malinis ang pamamahala, wala namang dahilan para matakot at iwasan ang mata ng publiko.

The non-publication of audit observation memoranda (AOM) by the Commission on Audit (COA) will only weaken the government's ability to promptly flag and investigate irregularities involving public money.

There are many good reasons why Congress has required transparency on all levels of the public audit process, including AOMs. First, the COA is a constitutional body mandated to examine and audit how public funds are used. As part of COA's audit, the release of AOMs not only provides agencies with the opportunity to comply with COA's recommendations, but also enables further scrutiny by various stakeholders.

Second, these audit observations have been historically important in getting to the bottom of issues that involve the misuse of public coffers. Kung hindi dahil sa COA audit observations, hindi mabubunyag ang P10 billion Pharmally scandal, ang iregularidad sa UNIFAST program ng Commission on Higher Education, ang iba't-ibang anomalya ng PS-DBM, ang overpriced laptops ng Department of Education, ang pagkasayang ng milyon-milyong doses ng COVID vaccines ng Department of Health, at iba pang mahalagang isyu.

Third, these audit observations are made by our hardworking and valiant COA auditors, who risk their lives and endure threats, intimidation and other dangers in the performance of their duties. Huwag naman natin itago sa publiko ang pinaghirapang findings ng COA auditors na nag-sasakrispisyo para protektahan ang pera ng taumbayan.

Let us all remember that every single peso in public funds belongs to the Filipino people. Karapatan ng bawat mamamayan na maging bahagi ng buong proseso ng pagbabantay sa paggamit ng kaban ng bayan.

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