Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said that it is not true that she was pressuring the Commission on Audit (COA) to release an incomplete audit report on the Makati City Hall Building 2 in a bid to derail Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential candidacy.
She added that Binay allegedly appealed to a COA official to release the report after the May 2016 elections.
“The Press Release from UNA [United Nationalist Alliance] is a lie. It was the COA that advised the Office of the Ombudsman months ago that the report was ready and that a copy will be transmitted to the office by the end of January. But according to a very reliable source VP Binay pleaded with a COA official not to release the report until after the elections,” Morales said in a statement.
“After failing to transmit in January, COA again informed the office that they will transmit a copy on February 22. Failing that as well, they again advised they will transmit it on March 2. So far no report has been received,” Morales said.
Sought for comment by The Manila Times, UNA President and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco stood firm on their allegation.
“By their own statement they have stated that COA failed to transmit in January, on February 22 and on March 2. This clearly proves that the office of the Ombudsman is the one following up on this matter. How would they come up with the dates if they did not follow up?” Tiangco said.
He also said that Binay never asked COA to not release the audit report.
“VP Binay never pleaded for COA not to release the report. What influence does VP Binay have over COA, when they are all appointees of the Liberal Party administration?” Tiangco said.
He added that he wrote a letter dated February 21, 2016 for strict adherence to COA Resolution No. 2015-033, which prohibits the conduct of special audit against candidates of the 2016 elections.
“So there is no secret follow up as claimed by the Ombudsman but an official letter from UNA that the Resolution must be applied equally to all candidates even those who are part of the opposition,” Tiangco said.
“The question that the Ombudsman has to answer is why up to now the high ranking officials of Congress who are members of the Liberal Party, named in the August 14, 2013 COA Special Audit Report on PDAF, have not yet been filed with plunder? Why are there still no plunder cases filed against Butch Abad for the DAP?” he said in closing, referring to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
The Supreme Court (SC) declared unconstitutional in November 2013 the PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] allocation.
The DAP [Disbursement Allocation Program], a stimulus package under the Aquino administration which aimed to fast-track public spending and push economic growth, was also declared unconstitutional by the SC in July 2014.