Calida takes second look at release of COA reports

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Calida takes second look at release of COA reports
Newly-appointed Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Jose Calida arrived at the COA's main building in Commonwealth, Quezon City on Monday.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Audit Chairman Jose Calida has vowed to continue the COA’s mandate of guarding government funds against mispending and corruption.

However, Calida was unsure whether to continue the agency’s long-standing practice of publishing its audit reports.

“This is my first day. Give me some more days and I will tell you what we want to do,” Calida told reporters yesterday when asked if the COA, under his helm, would still be publishing its audit reports.

The COA has been regularly uploading on its website annual audit reports on national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations, local government units, state universities and colleges.

The agency has also been publishing its special audit reports on big-ticket projects of the government.

The audit body had flagged Calida when he was solicitor general for allegedly receiving excessive allowances and honoraria in 2017 and 2016 despite the existing COA Circular 85-25-E, which limits the compensation of government officials and employees to only 50 percent of their annual basic salary.

According to state auditors, Calida received P8.376 million in allowances in 2017, of which P7.462 million was above the 50 percent limit of his annual pay of P1.828 million.

The Office of the Solicitor General had refuted the audit findings, saying the COA “has no authority” to issue an order setting a limit on allowances of government officials and employees under the Constitution.


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