THE opposition on Friday accused Commissioner Heidi Mendoza of the Commission on Audit (COA) of misleading the Senate and the public, saying the audit findings she presented before the Senate sub-committee hearing on Thursday had been discredited and thrown out by the Sandiganbayan in 2011 and was affirmed by the Supreme Court a year later.
At the same time, lawyer JV Bautista, interim secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said Mendoza’s testimony was clearly part of the demolition job against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family.
“There was apparent malice on the part of Heidi Mendoza. She knew that the Sandiganbayan had already thrown out her supposed findings, yet she went ahead with her presentation,” Bautista added.
“Malinaw na malinaw na kasabwat si Mendoza sa demolition job na ito dahil niloko n’ya ang taumbayan [It is very clear that Mendoza is part of this demolition job because she is fooling the people],” he said.
Lawyer Juan Carlos Mendoza, counsel for former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, noted that in a resolution dated April 7, 2011, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan found that audit procedures adopted by COA under Mendoza suffers from “fundamental issues of arbitrariness.”
This was the reason, Mendoza said, the case against Mrs. Binay and the other members of the Bids and Awards Committee was dismissed by the anti-graft court.
“The Sandiganbayan resolution was affirmed by no less than the Supreme Court on 12 January 2012,” the lawyer further noted.
“It was expected that as a high ranking public official, Miss Heidi Mendoza would have been candid enough to admit to the Senate that the audit report she was testifying on yesterday [Thursday] was already discredited by the Sandiganbayan,” according to Mendoza.
On the Ospital ng Makati findings, the lawyer said, these were already assessed by the Ombudsman during a preliminary investigation and the former Makati mayor was cleared of liability in 2011.
But, Mendoza added, the Ombudsman refiled the case in 2014, in violation of Mrs. Binay’s constitutional rights.
“The recent attempt to revive these cases is now subject of a petition filed before the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mendoza said he intends to bring the matter of the COA commissioner’s “irregular conduct before the proper forum.”
Makati City Administrator Eleno Mendoza described as unfair and a violation of COA rules the directive of the sub-committee for COA to reveal their preliminary audit report on Makati City Hall Building 2.
“As a rule, COA audits are confidential in nature because the office being audited has the right to reply and explain the findings since preliminary findings are not conclusive findings,” Mendoza said.
He added that under the COA rules, the agency being audited is asked to submit its replies and comments on preliminary audit findings to COA, which then calls the agency to an exit conference where the findings and corresponding comments are discussed.
“Only after such a conference does COA render a final report,” Mendoza said.