- Duterte urged local officials to defy COA circulars
- He even joked about pushing the COA employee off the stairs
- Former COA commissioner Mendoza urged Duterte to respect COA
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte took a swipe at circulars issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) covering transactions made by the government.
The President’s remarks was made at the press briefing on ‘Typhoon Ompong’ in Laoag City last Sunday, during which Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos claimed the COA does not allow them cash advances for the purchase of building materials for disaster victims.
“Maniwala ka niyang COA na ‘yan. You know, you just do it by circular and then expect everybody to obey. Mga circular, pakialam ko? Inyo iyan,“ Duterte said.
“Make it a law. I don’t give a shit on a circular,” the President added.
Duterte’s remarks was cheered by the local officials who was seen clapping and saying, “yes, yes”.
The President even joked about pushing the COA employee off the stairs.
Heidi Mendoza reacts
Former COA commissioner Heidi Mendoza, in a Facebook post, urged Duterte to respect the constitutional body that no one among the past presidents has ever called on another institution to defy their rules.
“Not with us Sir! We are a long standing, dignified institution whose men and women spent long hours working for its flag and our people,” wrote Mendoza.
“Give us respect for we deserve it. Government exist not only because of efficiency but also because of dignity,” the former COA official said.
Palace defends Duterte remarks
In a statement on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended Duterte’s remarks by saying the context of the statement is that there has been many limitations in government’s effort to deliver assistance to its people in times of crisis.
“Ang sinasabi ng presidente, considering na post-audit naman ang COA, hayaan na munang ibigay ang pangangailangan ng taumbayan tsaka na muna address-in ang sinabing napakaraming requirements ng COA,” explained Roque.
[What the President said, considering that COA is post-audit anyway, the governments should be allowed to deliver the needs of the people then address the several COA requirement later.]
Roque added there should be no bureaucratic red tape in the delivery of service to the people since the President already promised that if there is any violation in COA circulars, the ‘buck stops with him’.