So what happens next?
The Commission on Audit (COA) recently issued adverse findings on the Department of Agrarian Reform (“DAR audit bares P12-B mess,” Front Page, 4/23/15).
To an ordinary citizen like me, the COA impresses. It does not just look over the figures and justifications submitted to it; it also extends full faith in them. The officers and personnel of this constitutional body thoroughly pore over the loads of paper brought to them and have come up with very convincing bases establishing unfaithfulness in the handling of government funds or irregularities in their disbursement by public officials.
Yet, that is only half of the COA’ s mandate. The other half—and definitely just as important—is the recovery of the funds from those accountable for those funds, whose accounting reports did not pass COA’s auditing. What has the COA done with the reports? Is it content to reduce its findings into writing, never mind if they are consigned to the archives?
Funds unlawfully spent or stashed away must be recovered. I suppose that is what is being done in the plunder cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., as well as against the other accused in various criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan.
But what about the other government officials and their coconspirators against whom there have been conclusions of venality?
The COA and its predecessor offices have been around since government came into being. The officers and employees of the commission should not begrudge citizens like me who request that they report on their efforts to recover from erring government officials the funds the accounting for which has been rejected in audit. I am interested in the results—meaning, money the COA is able to return to government coffers. I believe that the recovered funds, if any, would be in insignificant amounts.
—EFREN C. CARAG, [email protected]
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