President Duterte on Sunday slammed the audit body for its supposed prohibitions on government spending. He even said that a COA employee should be pushed down the stairs.
Presidential Photo/Karl Norman Alonzo
Palace defends Duterte rant against COA
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 17, 2018 - 7:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark against the Commission on Audit, saying the chief executive only wanted to ensure that government processes would not impede efforts to assist calamity-stricken areas.  

Duterte on Sunday slammed the audit body for its supposed prohibitions on government spending. He even said that a COA employee should be pushed down the stairs.

This after Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos claimed that COA does not allow cash advances for the purchase of building materials during a post-Typhoon Ompong briefing in Ilocos Norte. Marcos, sitting beside the president, clapped and said, “Yes, yes, yes.”

Duterte went on to criticize the circulars released by the state audit body, calling these meaningless unless they are passed into law.

But the presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said COA should be lenient during times of calamities.

“[The context of the president’s statement] was there were so many limitations in the delivery of assistance in times of crisis. The president said that since COA conducts post-audits, it should just allow the delivery of the needs of the people before addressing the numerous requirements of COA,” Roque said in Filipino in a press briefing Monday.

The president’s mouthpiece added that Duterte just wanted to cut the supposed bureaucratic red tape.

“There should be no bureaucratic red tapes in the release of assistance to the public. The president said that if a COA circular will be violated, so be it. The buck stops with him but he will and he is enjoining and calling all government offices to give people what they need in times of calamities,” he said in Filipino.

A total of 147,540 families of 591,762 individuals were affected by Typhoon Ompong when it hurtled Luzon over the weekend.

According to the Philippine National Police, the number of people killed by the landslides and floods triggered by “Ompong” has climbed to 65.

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