Senator Alan urges COA to conduct pre-audit of government projects

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday suggested to the Commission on Audit (COA) to look into the conduct of pre-auditing government projects to see if it can help the commission enhance its effectiveness and efficiency in carrying out its mandate.

“Over the years, since the 1987 Constitution, COA has found the strength or the means of coming out with reports on issues of public interests that has put us on the right path,” Cayetano said in his interpellation during the plenary debate for the 2024 budget of the commission on November 20, 2023.

But while the COA is “essential to our democracy,” Cayetano said the commission should consider looking into pre-audit mechanisms especially for big projects to prevent possible misuse of public funds.

He said this is important because once a project is already ongoing and the COA later finds in a post-audit that it is disallowed, “paano mo ibabalik ang [pera]?”

Cayetano recalled that during the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games organized by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) which he chaired, the committee often sought assistance from auditors from COA before implementing activities.

“We had to have meetings with COA to clarify certain things. Looking back, I wouldn’t have minded na magkaroon ng pre-audit, rather than each and every time na may umangal [ay mage-explain ka],” he said.

He then asked Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, if instituting pre-audit would require more time and budget for the commission, and suggested seeking guidance from COA retirees when it comes to determining which projects can be pre-audited.

“I may suggest that between January to March the commission to study it and whether certain amount and certain agencies ay kailangan talaga ng pre-audit, so in 2025 they can implement it,” he said.

“Y’ung mga magre-retire o nag-retire na na taga-COA, they are also a good source. Masasabi naman nila sa inyo kung ano yung kailangan ng pre-audit at ano ang hindi,” he added.

Cayetano concluded his interpellation by expressing the Senate’s willingness to assist newly-appointed COA Chairperson Gamaliel Asis Cordoba in implementing innovations that he deems necessary for the commission.

“If there are innovations by the new chairperson that you think would really enhance your capability of sniffing out irregularities and anomalies, this Senate is more than open to finding ways, whether through legislation or special provisions,” he said.


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