Why is Heidi Mendoza still unconfirmed?By Solita Collas-Monsod
Heidi Mendoza is an attack dog unleashed in a political demolition job against Vice President Jejomar Binay by his foes (apparently referring to Mar Roxas). Heidi has become obsessed with the Binays, or has a history of animosity toward them (because the Sandiganbayan dismissed a previous case against Dr. Elenita Binay which had been filed on the basis of Heidi’s findings). To top it all, she is projecting herself in the media as part of another campaign, this time for the confirmation of her appointment as a member of the Commission on Audit.
Or at least that’s what the Binay camp would like to have us believe. Quite a different picture from the Heidi who quit her job at the Asian Development Bank so she could testify in the Sandiganbayan with regard to the corruption in the military (specifically, a former comptroller, retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia), the Heidi whose appointment by P-Noy to the COA was hailed by all sectors (except the rabid opposition).
Well, from where I sit, it looks more like Heidi is the victim rather than the attacker, the target of a demolition job rather than the perpetrator. Worse, it is beginning to look like there is no great rush to defend Heidi, seeing as anyone defending her would have to contend with a sitting Vice President whose desire to be President is obvious. Discretion is the better part of valor, after all.
When did Heidi Mendoza get into the Binay gun sights, in the first place? At least 10 years ago, when the COA formed a “Special Task Force to Review and/or Audit Contracts involving Purchases and Infrastructure Projects of Local Government Units in Metro Manila.” Heidi was the head of the team which did a “review/audit of contracts involving purchases of office partitions and furniture of the Makati City government for the years 2000 and 2001,” as well as the expenditures on the Makati City Hospital (which is another story).
And the findings of her team were extremely damning to the government of Makati. I should know. I read both reports in their entirety, complete with annexes. And I ask/challenge the COA, in the interest of transparency, to upload the two reports on its website—the findings, the comments of the Makati government, the rejoinders, the supporting documents, the whole enchilada—so the Readers can see for themselves that every single statement Heidi makes is supported by documentary evidence of the most meticulous, contained in the annexes.
For example, her statement that the award on the furniture was made ahead of the bidding (Sept. 15, award; Sept. 17, bidding) is supported by official documents, not only dated letters of award, but also other official letters referring to the date of award, Sept. 15, so it cannot be deemed a typo error. That kind of meticulous. The statement that the bidding companies had the same owners is backed by documents provided by the different firms themselves (e.g., the warehouse of one bidding company is located at the same address used by the City of Makati in sending a letter of invitation intended for another bidding company; the official address of one company is also the showroom of another bidding company; an authorization letter involving one company was signed by an officer who was also an officer of another company).
But if that were so, why did the Sandiganbayan dismiss one of the four cases filed against Elenita Binay? Apparently, because the Sandiganbayan found that the prosecution came to court with “shoddy evidence,” and that “the audit procedure was also questionable in validating the prosecution’s claim of excess purchase and overprice.” I don’t know what “shoddy evidence” the special prosecutors presented, but no way was the audit procedure questionable. It might however, be germane that the Sandiganbayan dismissed the case in 2011, when Binay was already VP.
Heidi an attack dog for Mar Roxas? Does that mean that way back in 2002 (when the Makati report was filed), she (and Mar) already knew that not only was Mar planning to run for the vice presidency in 2010, Binay was also going to be a threat to any future plans? Doing it too brown.
And now let us focus on the issue of Heidi and her desire to be confirmed by the COA, so much so that she is using her testimony at the Sandiganbayan to project herself to the media.
The real question is: Why, 18 months after she was appointed as COA commissioner, is she still unconfirmed? Is it because she isn’t qualified? She was with the COA for 22 years, before she quit in 2006—and her record is spotless. The ADB hired her, and if one remembers correctly, it stood ready to rehire her when she quit because she was going to testify in the Garcia case. That she quit the ADB is a testament to her complete indifference to financial security. Her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth show no unexplained wealth.
Then why is she still awaiting confirmation? Ah, there’s the rub. It is an open secret, apparently, in the COA secretariat, that the one responsible for this situation is—guess who?—the Binay camp.
And yet Heidi stands by her 2002 audit report. That the Binay camp is accusing her of using her Sandiganbayan testimony for confirmation purposes is dissimulation at its most contemptible. But if the Binay camp thinks that Heidi Mendoza wants her job so much that she can be persuaded to even soft-pedal on the findings of her 2002 report on Makati and the corruption there, it has another think coming.
Who will stand by Heidi?
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