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COA has sole power to audit Senate – Chiz

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
January 31, 2013

DAVAO CITY – The Senate should respect the Constitution’s designation of the Commission on Audit (COA) as the sole body to review government finances including that of the Senate, Sen. Chiz Escudero told Davao newsmen.

Escudero voiced the position amid Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposal for a parallel audit of Senate funds to be conducted by COA and a private auditing firm.

Cayetano’s proposal was an offshoot of allegations on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s supposed misuse of Senate funds when he distributed additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allowances for senators prior to the Christmas holiday break in the Senate.

Escudero said, however, that a clear accounting of the funds given to senators should be made instead of the current practice in the Senate of liquidation by certification.

“I'm in favor of COA opening all the books of the Senate but not the proposal to have a private firm doing an audit. There are legal considerations that should be followed,” Escudero said.

The constitution provides that COA will have sole authority in auditing government funds and senators cannot order COA, an independent constitutional body, to audit specific funds.

The COA is similar to the Commission on Elections and the Civil Service Commission which cannot be dictated on by members of the Senate on the actions that it can take.