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COA gets the ire of President Duterte, Palace’s mouthpiece defends his boss

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President Rodrigo Duterte joked that the Commission on Audit (COA) auditor in Ilocos Norte should be pushed down the stairs so he would not be able to report on the local government’s transactions.

This joke was made on September 16 when Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos complained about the various prohibitions that COA has been imposing on her local government’s spending.

Duterte asked, ”Sino’ng taga-COA dito? Ihulog mo na sa hagdan para ‘di mag-report (Who’s from COA? Push him down the stairs so he won’t be able to file a report anymore).”

Nobody laughed at the joke. However,  Marcos laughed and clapped her hands while saying, “Yes, yes!”

Furthermore, the President also belittled circulars from COA by saying, “Don’t believe in COA’s circulars. You know, they just do it by circular and they expect everybody to obey. Why would I care about your circular? That’s yours!

The Ilocos Norte Governor also complained that COA issued an audit observation memorandum against Ilocos Norte, telling the provincial government that it had applied for too many loans since monsoon rains in August.

In response to this, Duterte said, ”Tell him Duterte told him to shut up.”

The Marcoses are close allies and friends of the President.

Meanwhile, Palace’s Spokesman Harry Roque defended Duterte’s remark against the Commission on Audit, saying the President only wanted to ensure that government processes would not derail the efforts to assist calamity-stricken areas.

The presidential mouthpiece said COA should be lenient during times of calamities and Duterte just wanted to cut the supposed bureaucratic red tape.

He explained further in Filipino, “The context of the presidents statement] was there were so many limitations in the delivery of assistance in times of crisis. The president said that since COA conducts post-audits, it should just allow the delivery of the needs of the people before addressing the numerous requirements of COA.”

“There should be no bureaucratic red tapes in the release of assistance to the public. The president said that if a COA circular will be violated, so be it. The buck stops with him but he will and he is enjoining and calling all government offices to give people what they need in times of calamities,” he added.

There are total of 147,540 families of 591,762 individuals were affected by Typhoon Ompong when it  whipped the Northern Luzon over the weekend.

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