Solon welcomes suspension of COA audits on poll bets

Solon welcomes suspension of COA audits on poll bets

MANILA – The chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday said the Commission on Audit (COA) exercised “prudence and fairness” when it issued a resolution to suspend the creation of fraud and special audit teams if based on complaints filed against a candidate in the 2022 elections.

Probinsyano Ako Partylist Rep. Jose Singson Jr. lauded COA for issuing Resolution No. 2021-024, as it steers the agency clear from being accused of meddling in politics by favoring or disfavoring a party who is a candidate in next year’s polls.

The COA resolution also suspended the execution of decisions on all appealed cases that involve a candidate or a party-list nominee in next year’s elections.

“This decision of our auditors should not be misinterpreted as an act of avoiding their duty of guaranteeing transparency and integrity in financial dealings of government. We totally agree that it is of COA’s interest to insulate itself from politics or any perception of partisanship,” Singson said.

He said that COA may resume forming fraud and special audit teams immediately after the May 9 polls, as well as executing audit decisions.

COA said in its resolution that the twin moves are necessary in order “to uphold its political neutrality or remove the slightest semblance of partiality by implementing measures aimed at preventing opportunities and circumstances that may impair the independence, neutrality, and professionalism of the commission, its officers and employees.”

The state audit body noted that aside from the rush of filing of complaints against candidates immediately before or during an election year, there has also been an upsurge of follow-ups on appeals or petitions involving candidates and party-list nominees.

COA said the “immediate but untimely action on these complaints/requests and appeals/petitions would create a dangerous impression that the Commission” is giving advantage or disadvantage to a candidate. (PNA)

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