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COA chair Pulido-Tan: Jinggoy speech 'vindicated' our work
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Grace Pulido Tan said Wednesday she felt vindicated because Senator Jinggoy Estrada did not refute any of the findings of their special audit report even though he had especially scathing words on the "ineptness" with which she had supervised the work of her people.

"I heard the speech, he did not deny anything, he did not say we were wrong about our PDAF audit; for me that's great. It's a vindication for us, na siya mismo na natukoy doon sa audit ng PDAF ay walang reklamo, [that he himself, who was named in that report had no complaint] except for the selectivity," Tan said in an interview at the sidelines of the budget hearing of her agency at the House of Representatives.

"I'd also like to say that siya mismo ang nagpatunay [he himself proved it], by citing extensively from our COA report, na hindi kami naging selective, [that we were not selective] that it wasn't just the opposition lang (that we audited)," she added.

In a privilege speech, Estrada slammed the piecemeal investigation and the release of information on the misuse of pork barrel funds, in which he was implicated.

Tan explained that the conduct of audit could not cover 100 percent of all government transactions, and that the Constitution gives the agency the "exclusive authority" to determine the scope of audit.

She said the special audit of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) use of lawmakers for 2007 to 2009 covered only select agencies, which received the biggest releases of fund.

"Common sense na king sila ang pinakamalaking [that if they have the biggest] releases, they are good representation of the agencies," she added.

She also said that during the Senate inquiry, she mentioned the audit only on the eight non-government agencies because these are the ones allegedly run by Janet Lim Napoles.  

She did not say why, as Estrada noted, nowhere in the 400-page report is there a single notice of disallowance, the most important and first recourse of COA in questioned transactions.

She also has not explained yet why she travelled frequently abroad the last three years, ostensibly to represent the country in international auditing boards. Some sources earlier said her frequent travels had prompted her to leave most of the work of COA chief to commissioner Heidi Mendoza.

Per Senator Estrada's speech, Pulido-Tan travelled five times in 2010; nine times in 2011 and 10 times so far this year. He said even her excuse for not attending subsequent Senate hearings--that it wasn't "polite" to send a proxy to the events leading up to November's election in the global audit board---was "lame" because the Philippine Mission in New York could very well represent the country in those run-up events.