Sen. Binay fails to get copy of COA findings

By , on December 2, 2014

Sen. Nancy Binay. Photo courtesy of Binay's official Facebook page.
Sen. Nancy Binay. Photo courtesy of Binay’s official Facebook page.

MANILA — Sen. Nancy Binay on Monday failed to acquire an advance copy of the initial findings of the Commission on Audit that will indicate “red flags” on the spending of the Malampaya Fund.

This is despite her claims on the release of the results of the preliminary inquiry on the alleged corruption in Makati City during the term of his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s watch.

Binay asked COA Chairman Grace Pulido Tan whether the findings are similar to the audit of the Malapaya Fund releases to the Department of Agrarian Reform which reveals several questionable facts.

Tan, however refused to reveal the findings adding that those were still subject for review and that changes may still happen depending on the type of evidence presented to the audit commission.

The commissioner also refused to disclose audit highlights saying that the concerned agencies are not given any chance to respond to it.

Binay cited COA’s release of the audit findings on an issue referring to the senate probe on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II where his father was allegedly involved.

“So why cannot you disclose the findings?” Binay asked.

Tan however clarified that what was released during the hearing of the Makati issue were not findings but were “red flags” which were a result of the initial evaluation on the bare face of the evidence that would determine the direction of the audit.

Tan also added that red flags were already seen even before the beginning of the Malampaya audit.

The said flags were present among different agencies and that she would have volunteered to reveal the said flags had she been asked to do so.

However, the start of the auditing process has changed the complexion of the situation, according to Tan, adding that under their rules, no findings should be released until the entire audit process has been done.

Persistent to see the audit highlights, Binay sought to have it subpoenaed and presented to the senate hearing.

While she is volunteering to follow any senate order and that she would “yield to any compulsive processes that the Senate may take on this matter,” Tan said that “in terms of fairness and equity, I think that it is not fair to the parties concerned if even before they could comment, the audit reports would be subpoenaed,” she said.

Binay, however, insisted that to be furnished with a copy of the audit highlights and assured Tan that she will not disclose it publicly.

Meanwhile, Binay’s request will be studied and taken into consideration, according to Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee.

He added that he will also consider the stand of COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan that the “audit highlights” will be treated with confidentiality until after the side of the audited agencies are acquired by the state auditors.

An audit of releases was completed by the audit agency last year from the Malampaya Fund to the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The COA Chair said that that her agency already ended its audit on the Malampaya Fund releases to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, National Housing Authority and Department of Agriculture with two attached agencies.

Tan made a statement during the panel inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of P900 million in the government revenues for the gas well operations in Palawan province. All of the projects were meant to help the storm victims.

Tan also revealed that their team came up with Malampaya Fund audit highlights particularly in the releases made to the Philippine National Police and the Department of Energy.

The two agencies will then be required to make their comments on the findings.